I met Tamsin at a creative nature writing workshop I led at the Creekside Discovery Centre in South East London a couple of weeks ago. Following the workshop celebrating urban nature she sent me these lovely pieces of writing about Deptford Creek, a remarkable place treasured by Tamsin and her family. Enjoy!
(The picture is from a display of some of things which have been found in the creek)
A Halcyon Dream/Ode to my local Creek
Culverted. Constricted. Squeezed. Urban aquatic vasculature. Within its bowels languish skeletal remains of the Golden Hinde and Caesar’s tales are whispered. Brackish fingers unfurl, infiltrate the tributary, creeping along her undulating, gravelly bed with the burgeoning surge of the flood current. Here they tentatively mix with sweet water, nurturing a wriggling soup of elvers upon tidal transport.
Glutinous swathes of viscous mud, kissed with vibrant, viridescent smatterings of algae, cradle the pregnant channel. Patterns, smudges, webbed and clawed footprints reveal secrets of waterfowl and terrestrial inhabitants.
Amongst the dabbling ducks, passerine philharmonic and gull cacophony, an exotic flash of iridescence demands immediate attention. My pupils dilate, skin on pinprick. There! Darting along the sea wall, a halcyon dream, an azure brushstroke, an aquamarine light trail… juxtaposed against pockets of ochre, starkly visible as one splash of vivaciousness within the remnants of a bygone industrial era.
Parabolas of woody shoots stretch out overhead, creating an unlikely canopy of silvery, green solar panels. Soft rays of vernal sunshine caress photosynthetic surfaces, spilling through stems to bare tarmac below.
Perpendicular to the pavement, a mature railway arch rises, a vertical growth medium for vegetation and artful expression. Within shaded crevices, fibonacci curved fern fronds cautiously reach, then capitulate on contact with aerosol pigments depicting thought provoking, political propaganda. Mutualistic species flourish; algae and fungi coalesce as chewing gum splotches of lichen life. And everywhere sedulously sprout the omnipresent buddleja, from ever elongating splits in aging masonry; biological weathering dynamism. Their fragrant, conical, violet hued blossoms attracting a lepidopterist’s dream of diversity. A welcome drinking haunt to uncoil bespoke, mobile straws and quench sugary thirst, till satiation is thus achieved.
What can I say much beyond the fact that I am in awe… What an education: so much splendid vocabulary (much of it new for me, but that’s why we have dictionaries – and Google) with each descriptor expertly chosen, and planted with precision as carefully placed footsteps through this totally immersive series of nature walks. To be honest, it took me a little work and time, but the reward was immense. An art gallery full of exquisite paintings all inside my head.
A favourite? It has to be the last one. An all too common sight of discarded shopping trolleys; who knew there was beauty hiding in such careless, or wilful, abandonment.
Thank you, Tamsin.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for your nice comments Helen… I’ll pass them on to Tamsin.