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Citta Violenta.

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Toward a radical middle

a time for fear
Wednesday, July 09, 2003  
Walking down the bank of River Lea, people sweeping past in canoes and kayaks, swans scratching their stomachs with their beaks, coots mooching through bright green algae, damselflies buzzing about in the mild heat.

Went to the Middlesex Filter Beds nr. Clapton this pm, built in the late nineteenth century to purify water for London's residents after the great cholera outbreak, now derelict and converted into a nature reserve. For some reason it's closed all week, and only opens on the weekend, so I had to climb over a large gate, but it was excellent, and I saw loads of things.

The supple silhouette of a kestrel hunting and twirling in the bright white sky. A linnet jumping between branches. Reed warblers flashing in and out of reed banks like flint sparks. A grey heron perched on a rusting iron shack, stretching out its wing span and languidly dropping into flight. A cuckoo dashing away in panic. Two jays grooming themselves on a dusty path. A green woodpecker feeding frantically along the ground. Huge flashy blue damselflies chasing flies across reed beds and marshes. Loads of different white and tortoiseshell butterflies fluttering around immature blackberry bushes. Down the other side of the River Lea, clusters of canada geese and mallard families milling lazily. And then a flash of sharp electric blue - a kingfisher shooting downriver (truly, it's been that kind of day).

Sitting down to read Frank O' Hara by the side of a marsh, suddenly disturbed by a rustle in the twisted reeds, gorse, nettles and weeds below my feet, so I investigate expecting a rat or water vole or warbler or something, and then I see a fucking big grass snake sliding away into the marsh. Great thick thing with black markings all down its back, must have been as long as my arm. I basically ran away. It was pathetic.

Went and had a sleep by Walthamstow marsh and sank into the rich meshwork of sound: Wagn trains, aeroplanes flying in and out of Stanstead, the cows and bulls grazing and moseying on the marsh, young girls riding past on horses, blackbirds, chaffinches, doves, wood pigeons, bumblebees (bees have really fat white bums), crickets, grasshoppers, middle aged people walking lovely dogs, bicycle tires crackling through gravel, slight breeze rustling leaves and the subtle buzz of electricty pylons fizzing beneath all the other sounds.

I keep seeing one solitary magpie at the moment, so I have to expect the worst, but today I saw three together, so now I'm expecting a letter.

6:57 PM

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