On my way home on Saturday night, a fox ran across the road in front of me. He paused to look for a few seconds, his smiling whiskered face turned towards me, then dipped his body through a gap in the gate. Last night as Phil and I walked back to his, we saw two more in the spit of park and an Irish man, just off the bus, pointed to a building site where more would gather.
The sky seems to find its place every week. From early morning “white February sky…yesterday’s rain puddles catching this morning’s sunshine” to night “out onto late night Oxford Street (too bright and too loud under the spinning cartwheeling sky” light forms the backdrop of my day. The way it falls on faces and what it means when you see the lights on in a friend’s house.
These words always seem drawn to natural elements – water “under the bridges…flat green black. Raindrops like ellipsis, silver white grey”, – trees “like green bed sheets lifted high, caught and pulled tight” – and even the Heath: “we have a breathless climb and then the whole of London is spread out in a haze of distant buildings. Families, kites, scampering dogs, the spilt light of the pub. Clocks turned back and it is five pm and dusk this October evening“.
Kites seem to be another thread through these entries: “on Sunday JA and I went to run down dunes and fly a kite – something I haven’t done for years. The thin nylon was crinkled when we unrolled it but pulled taught into a blue and yellow bird. The feel of the string twined between two fingers, the sky-tug of the wind” as something which roots me, as well as the other ballasts in this city: “there are young children cycling to school along Whitecross Street. Their Dad is on a line behind. Stretch. Anchor“.
Along with this connection between ground and sky is a sense of stretching overland too, on trains, “I have to change at Newcastle: off the swift east coast line and onto the local two-carriage train that stops at Cramlington, Widdrington, Acklington and up to the sweeping bay and coloured squares of Alnmouth. I meet someone from my hometown on the train and he tells me some local things” and on the underground which “traces a pink line east.”
Going back through these pieces, the things I loved about Whitechapel when I first moved there are the things I still love today.
These circling images of things which inform my life – the people I love, the things I see and experiences I have will still continue — but perhaps it is time for something new…
I’ll be writing Africa – and though this will probably be much less frequent, please keep reading. C xx