Soon I’ll be home – for sixteen days. Now, waiting, waiting…
Exmoor keeps rising in my brain, like the boggy peat puddles that fill and spill down meadowed hills with sheep’s-bum valleys of oak and beech, and weeps into the River Barle.
There I straddled the sycamore branch, its outstretched arm reaching half way across the river, where I lay with face against rough bark and gazed upon water – liquid pewter running – reflecting the heavy sky, guarding river’s mystery and depth.
Whether bird or wind or hand of god parted the weighted clouds, I don’t know. But fingers of sun broke through, touched the river, dissolving pewter and turned it into rolling glass. Beneath – a trout hovered – facing upstream, fishing, tail swishing, side to side, waiting, waiting, shimmering in place as it hunted its dinner with patience. All the time the fish was there, but I unaware, until the sun revealed him.
Too soon, the sun slipped behind mist and lost the light; gone like a child’s fingers into a sleeve, leaving me on that tree in the dark afternoon, gazing at liquid pewter again, unable to see into depths where the trout still hunted his dinner. Only now, I knew he was there.
Soon. Soon, for sixteen glorious days, I will go home and breathe, breathe, breathe again.