Floods and the breeze

February 22, 2021
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The first thing you feel is the breeze. This is not the gentle breeze of spring or summer but the colder, harsher breeze of midwinter. This does not gently stir the first shoots of trees and flowers but hits you square in the face. Bitter, stinging, and unforgiving.

Flood

It carries with it, rain! More rain onto an already saturated ground. Actually, that’s not strictly true. The ground is underwater as I speak. The flood plains are doing their job, I happen to live in one of the places in the country where houses have not been built on the plain and so, it floods without too much danger to houses. I have lived here for 38 years and I cannot remember when it has not flooded.

Wind

The wind picks up the cold from the slow-moving water. It’s a damp breeze and, depending on the state of the flood water it can have a tang of rotten vegetation. The denuded trees sway, distracting its path momentarily, and an eerie sound haunts the landscape. It’s not the rustle of the leaves but the rasping of bare branch on a bare branch, it’s a scratching sound that is fine mid-day, but late at night or first thing in the morning, in the quiet half-light.

Footpaths

The footpaths are flooded as well as the plains. This means my normal walks are no longer possible and I have to find alternative ways to my locations. This means carrying my kit through the town. Or traveling light. In these days of lockdown, I prefer the latter easier to explain if you get stopped. Sorry officer but normally I avoid the town like it has the plague. Oh, that’s right it has.

Fields of water

It’s difficult to describe the flood. The banks of the rivers are empty no longer inhabited by parties and revelers, just the water. Not far from my house there is a bridge which is a comparative high point in Cambridge, (I have cycled the Cambridge 100 this is 100miles over northern Cambridgeshire the total ascent was 100 feet most of these were bridges). You can see for miles, and what you see is acres and acres of fields all covered with slow-moving, silt laden water. A landscape totally changed from lush green fields to a monotone light brown.

Wind

The wind blows over this. Rippling the surface. Picking up the damp, making it cold. Cutting through unprotected bodies, a lance piercing. It does not care you are there; it does not stop and think I must not make this person cold. The wind just blows relentlessly, my waterproof flaps feebly reminding me that I have to do it up.

Silence

What it does do though, for some of us, is to set us free. The cold does cut through us it’s an irrelevance. But with the silence of the deserted landscape, it clears the head and frees us from the constraints of work. It gives us space.  Room to think, to listen, to be.

It doesn’t really matter that the floods are here. These are a nuisance at best mainly because I can’t walk where I want to, as the landscape changes so must I. I must change and adapt with each passing day to accommodate the changes in the land I love.

Right now, it’s me the wind and floodwaters. Next week it could be frost, fog, snow, or rain but always when I am away from the crowds and in the landscape, I have the quiet inside.

If you have read this far then thank you for making the effort. If you want to check out my Instagram feed it can be found by clicking HERE. My website has prints for sale and can be found HERE

 

Richard

This was written on 16/01/2021 and at that time the Ouse floodplain was well and truly flooded I watched as the floodwater rose by 12″ in an hour. A path that was passable at 11 am was not at 12.

 

 

 

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