Strangeness

Was oddly restless and fey after work, so I went for a walk by the river. I need to walk more: there is something to be said about disconnecting from all intermediary forms and immersing my direct senses into the immediate moment without mediation. And then to let my thoughts run wild.

Run wild they did, mostly in the existential direction today, and I found myself praying an undercurrent without really being aware of it. The sky was bruised with deep blue clouds, and the setting sun cast a last gasp of gold and radiant white upon the oncoming storm. It was surely going to rain tonight.

I ended up at the boathouse, on the pontoons the rowers used to lower their boats into the river. I love this pontoon, because it gets me right on the level of the water at some distance from shore, and gives me the impression of walking upon the river itself. Nearby was a power line that stretched across the short span between the banks.

On the power line hung the carcass of a bird.

Continue reading Strangeness

Subterranean

I went walking by the river the other day, and saw something I didn’t notice before at the side of the pavement. It was a raised cement platform standing on its own surrounded by large gravel around it. Embedded into the platform were three metal covers like manholes, except made from much heavier iron material. Two of them were manhole sized, about 2.5 feet in diameter, and the third one was larger, close to 4 feet diameter.

They were stormwater drains. Furthermore, the largest one was ajar, the lid tilted half open.

I stood on the platform and peered into the ajar stormwater drain. All I could see was dark water standing about a foot below the surface of the drain, clogged with debris and a bit of rubbish.

I thought, something has crawled up from the deep and escaped. Something hidden and secret is now at large, and civilization is no longer safe.

A few days later, I walked by the same place. The large drain was covered over.

Day flock, night flock.

Yesterday evening, walking home from the train station, I saw a most wondrous sight: bats flying out in the dusk. At first I thought they were birds, but then saw the membranous wings, the blunt heads, the outstretched legs in place of feathered tails. They were departing from some distant roost, and they streamed overhead non-stop in loose groups, all flying in the same general direction. There was nothing inherently sinister about that flock of bats.

I marvelled at how silent they were. They made no sound apart from the faintest flap flap of soft wings. And, but it might have been my imagination, the faintest of chirpings. On and on they came; I must have stood there with my head craned upwards for a full five minutes, entranced by the bats.

Then I recalled, in a vivid flashback, an almost identical vision I had some years ago, watching a flock of corvids streaming overhead at sunset. Black crows in an endless stream, flying towards their night roost, cawing like commuters shouting news and gossip to each other as they made their way home. Now I saw the same vision, but these were bats, departing to forage and socialize, and possibly calling the same kinds of greetings to each other in their ultrasonic voices.

A fascinating mirror: one flock going home in the evening from their day activities, whilst another flock emerges at about the same time to go about the same business night. How wonderful!

In rain and mist.

I.
It rained today.

As I stood at the train station, I looked up and, for a moment, saw a different world. A world that was washed by the rain: simultaneously saturated and greyed out, as if seen through a glass or in a water reflection. An image that was a little blurred in the details, as if the water had blurred the colours just a little.

II.
From the train on the way home;

The sky was completely overcast from horizon to horizon. Clouds heaped upon each other in fluffy mounds, or smeared out in long banks. The sky was entirely grey, but in greys of all shades. What a sight, that this monochrome colour, so plain on its own, can be so varied and vibrant when in a spectrum. How beautiful.

III.
I love mist. Not the fog that stifles sound and blots out vision, but the gentle, demure mist that blurs details and veils colour. The City of Dragons, which I once lived in, and Burn City, which I now live in, are both misty cities.

I love mist, because it is a portal into an alternate reality. With a blink of the eye and a sidestep of my thought, I pass from the familiar world as I’ve always seen it, into a dream-world next to it. The mist is the door, and I stand in the doorway, in between, neither here nor there, but in both.