This set of photographs contains a few lovely things at once. For one, it shows how the recent attention to rehabilitating the Don river away from it’s truly horrid state a few decades ago (open urban sewer) back to a more natural wetland state (and indeed, practical function) has really been transforming the place beautifully, and reinvigorating much fine lush urban parkland.
But I’m also reminded of something humbling, and something sweet. This was only the third time that Nada and I went out for a photo-hike together, at the time I was still working with a little point-and-shoot camera, and snapping with a casual fun attitude (not to say that I think myself an artist now – only that I know myself to be an unleashed-obsessive!).
I wrote a short piece recently mentioning that the placement of a microphone was far more important than it’s quality, I would say that goes twice-over here. Not only was my cheap camera in a charmed location, right when the light was just-so – but I can’t help thinking some of Sheldrake’s pilot waves were intervening in that happy-prank way that happens so often to creators, as a reward for taking that most basic step of showing up and trying.
Of course, I’m still a cynic (very optimistic about people trying and working, but not unrealistic about the dazzling scale of our foolishness) so I still say that while there are undoubtedly many happy vectors coming from cosmic coincidence control centre at any given time, they are still all subsumed by the master principle of Murphy, under whose compass all more rational (and hubris-based) paradigms must soon fall – and soon after look silly.
But if walking with a great new friend is enough of a window for the universe to find a lucky-gift way to remind you how great photography is, after many years away, and show you how a once-lousy river can start looking like a nice home for wildlife with care and patience invested, we must allow for some root beneficence in our schema, however derived.
Which makes Murphy’s fundamental and over-arching relevance not so much malevolent in real terms, as simply contrary to our precious conceits! (which is one of the functions of a friend – is it not, my friends?)
Admittedly, there is work to be done – but these ducks were in their glory anyhow. Cool urban types.