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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A River Runs Through It...

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

Norman MacLean

I have tried to live my life successfully or perhaps it could be argued more convincingly unsuccessfully, but I have always, always tried to ignore the word regret. If I could erase one word from the English language it would be regret. But lately, like many times before, regret has forced its way into my mouth, bitter, unpalatable, but somehow on the end of my tongue. I really should have gone and visited a friend, an awkward one, but I didn’t find the time. I never replied to that message on my answering machine, thinking I’d do it next week, the week after, life was applying the usual pressures, but somehow, I had no time. The only way I have time now, I have convinced myself, is by purchasing it. I couldn’t afford to make the transaction of putting aside some of my precious minutes in return for a few hours lost, god forbid, even regret, the transaction of seeing an old friend. So I convinced myself. Peter went out on his bike and never came back. Now the bike could go 180mph but, in the twisted logic of reality, it wasn’t even at full tilt. But all you need to know is he didn’t come back. We went fishing together, many an hour wasted in the vastness of Loch Lomond, many an epic gale faced in the Clyde estuary, in a small 13ft boot. Stupid really, out in 20 foot swells in such a small boat, no power in the engine, but for the sake of fishing, and that unspeakable powerful bond created in awe of nature, be her happy, mellow, angry or fierce, our silence was comfortable, a rare commodity in a world where we run a couple of hundred friends on our social networking sites, but can only be truly comfortable in silence with those that can be counted on one hand. My childhood fishing partner Neil, died tragically early. Hence the solace of Norman MacLean. I truly am haunted by waters.

In Scotland, to fish a Salmon river, for me it always has certain characteristics. Where you can see into the water, you never catch a Salmon. You always catch the fish on the edge, in the black water, a comfortable black, dark enough to maintain mystery, intrigue, but also dark enough to make one almost fear. I may sound morbid, but trust me, the only thing the black water of a river is comparable to, is the black of the dead’s eyes. When confronted with the dead, you have this fear of looking straight at them, as the hollowness of the black seems to suggest a hideous emptiness, and an understanding of questions, stretching way beyond what we want to think about. To stare at the black is to stare at our own mortality, perhaps the pointlessness of waste. Who knows, but I have no problem admitting they scare me, my own mortality, and the foolishness of craving risk, something that has dominated my life. Perhaps that is why I gain such solace from rivers. The black is black enough to offer the mystery of our reality, but when an ocean grown creature returning to its point of birth pulls from the black I gain incredible hope. Life is an incredible journey, and one can only hope. Once the current workload is passed, I’ll go up to the River Orchy. It will be nice to stare into the black in the company of old friends once again.

An Atlantic Salmon, released back into the Lochy, a truly remarkable visitor

I have finally got round to dealing with the website, and will continue to put new galleries online. At present however, I'm once again lost to an attempt to generate my final essay for Cambridge, which will see me complete the first academic year in my Masters. It has a been a strange journey, with very mixed emotions from start to finish. On one front I still have the working class chip on my shoulder, very alienated by the experience. On the other side, it has allowed me to have a priveleged view of another world, a very long way away from Clydebank High School. I have met some wonderful friends, probably had more fun in my 3 months there than in my other 7 plus years of other further education. But still it is another world, in a still divided Britain, hence my heart when not in the mountains and rivers of Scotland is settled in Kosovo. It has taken a long time, but I finally know wher home is.
For now though, on with the struggle of representation, which is oddly what I'm writing about. I'll post regularly now and update the galleries on my website every two weeks. If you can point anyone else interested in my ramblings, please point them to the above link.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I had a similar situation with a friend not so long ago. I shared much of your thought process, and came out of it with almost exactly the same conclusions - about making time for friends. I have so far managed to avoid regret - as important as conversations are, people must take responsibility for their own lives.