Today I have been witness to a fairytale and paid my bills all by 9am. I woke with a sigh, my recent sculpture is challenging me and I'm on a time limit. I'm irritable and this usually leads to despair so I decide to walk before the gremlins gather at my desk with their clashing spoons and bad manners. My intention is to go to the river. Trying to capture a swirl of water in my vision and follow it downstream never fails to soothe me.
There is a small gap between the towering himalayan balsam and as I slip through I disturb some foraging bees, white with the invasive pollen. Ghost bees emerging from deceptively sweet pink flowers. Stepping across the pebbled bank I feel like I am instantly in another world. A million miles from my neighbours screaming rows and the constant groaning of multiplying new-builds. Here weed charms the rocks, flowing silently above the rivers bones in a hypnotic dance. Pulling my gaze away I notice a scuffed up sandy mound with three dark shapes upon it. I instantly recognise it as otter spraint. I get down on my hands and knees no longer caring for my freshly washed jeans and inhale deeply. It is unmistakably otter, people say its like jasmine tea but I have never tried it so can't compare. To me it just smells like otter and the mysteries of a night I will never know. Contained within are feather, bone and scales. A tantalising view into the lives of these secretive souls.
Triumphantly I emerge from my weedy wonder into the field. My smile speaks of gold but to the shocked dog walker I obviously look like a crazed woman as she drags her collie closer and tuts off at pace whilst gasping down the phone.
I decide to try the next hidden gateway only this ones a little steeper and instead of effortlessly flowing like the silk of an otter I stumble like a dropped bag of potatoes.
Immediately my senses are caught by a shrill shriek that cuts through my breath, Kingfisher!
I have sat in this spot many times awaiting a royal appearance and if I'm lucky I have been treated to the paint streak of blue. I cannot believe my eyes when I turn to follow the sound to a branch just a few meters from me. She sits bobbing her head her beauty so dramatic its as if someone has placed a painting before me. It's not until she dives and returns with the tiniest of silver treasures that I realise she is real and I am here. Her fierce eye closes for the briefest of moments as she snaps her head back to swallow her now despatched treasure and she takes off against the flow.
I return home in overwhelming awe and decide to avoid the copse with its attached planning notice. Today I want to bury my head in the memory of earthy river scent and magic meetings for just a little longer. My blood beats hard in my veins as I chase the blue all the way back to my door.