Day 51

I stand on the old bridge at Wiverton, looking down from the stone parapet. A clutch of water iris leaves, not yet with flowers, are sprouting by the left hand bank just beyond a collection old bull-rushes that stand tall and pale. 

The river is not much more than a stream here. It emerges meekly from between the lush meadows. The smooth water surface reflects the morning sky and distant poplars back to me. At this place the stream forms a pool, backing up as it meets resistance from the bridge piers. The flow slows and its surface creases and folds subtlety, before squeezing between the remaining ancient arch.

A small fish breaks the surface to catch a midge. I just see its flip back into the water. A series of perfect small circles form where it had briefly emerged. They drift slowly towards me.

I wait. 

Another fish breaks the surface, a flash of its scales just visible. Yet another manages to stretch up a little higher. Its sleek shape is recognisable in its instant above the surface, before it falls back with an audible plink. The disturbance to the meniscus causes two air bubbles to form. They drift downstream surrounded by the expanding circle of gentle ripples distorting the sky’s reflection.

The repetitive high-pitched call of a chaffinch, the echo of a cuckoo and steady humming of bees, the buzz of a passing blue bottle are the only other sounds. Meanwhile the stream runs on beneath me in silence.

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Christopher Perry

7th May, 2020

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