In Category JOURNAL


The magic of dusk lures me to the nature reserve, light being a limited commodity and something worth catching. Somehow it never disappoints despite the rigorous one-way walking system that I now reluctantly adhere to, it is also the time of day that everyone wants to grab. The sparse wetness invites every surface to magnify the colours of a disappearing sun – a coming together of space and time that momentarily transports you to another world.
It was unusual to find people fishing here but it seemed to be one of those days when the river functioned in all manner of recreational activities. Earlier, nearer the centre, some scruffy looking men were involved in launching a lump of metal into the fast-flowing water and when asked whether they were crabbing which was where my imagination went, found they were instead using an ugly wrought magnet to dredge for metal. It felt to be the perfect metaphor for the times – an apocalyptic sifting through matter in the hope of finding something of value. An expression of this end of days. This group was younger, and like many of the souls trying to find a life in this changing world were open to communication and often sense a reciprocal value in the opportunity to share a few moments. Poor, uneducated and unemployed but finding some way to manage their, as yet unformed, lives in the face of this unprecedented closure of opportunity. It is a reserve and I am averse to animal suffering, but something in me warmed to these guys getting high on weed and finding a way. Perhaps sensing my lack of antipathy and curiosity we chatted for a short while about carp and trout, a few lines of conversation provided a portal into their transient bucolic world, before I bid them farewell and continued into the darkness.
The warden who was standing poised in the grassland a short distance away is a kindly soul who guides the maintenance of this small city centre sanctuary. Her unusual position of standing in the fen provoked a conversation with a family ahead of me and she revealed her plan – she was waiting for the local environmental officer to come and fine these people. The route through the moral maze was clear for me, whilst caring for this precious land and disliking any form of bloodsport there was a higher issue at stake.
Walking away I looped around the one way system once more to find these people and warn them to leave – if anything the last year had taught me the value of the smallest of human connection, the paramount need for people to find small oases of possibility to maintain some kind of well being and most importantly how rules and laws must be disobeyed at certain times. Fifteen minutes later I had hastily guided them out of the back of the reserve. The warden after standing and waiting in pitch black for an hour would find her quarry gone and had lost her catch.

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