Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I go to the end of the road and back and take pictures of various spots, plodding along in the yellow light of a dark early morning. A car turns out from a side road, passing my body stooped behind a tree. My self looks funny in the odd hours of the morning, a stalker, staking out the houses, peering over hedges, wandering in parks.
My first mistake is to turn the flash off on the camera, thinking there is enough light coming from the street lamps.
Across the horizon the glare of headlights rises and sets upon the reflective surface of the roadway. An early morning worker blurs past me and dives into the country road, it eats him up.
I can go almost where ever I want, I think, although I am careful not to disrupt the people asleep, behind the windows of the houses on this road on the outskirts of town. I cannot go in the fenced off gardens or wander into the gated and locked building site with signs fixed to the wire saying keep off and listing the degrees of fines or penalties for trespassing. They have locked the door to keep me on the roadside. The little area with its one man trucks and miniature diggers, road drills and chain saws lying about. It is an experimental workshop secluded from the surrounding school and residential areas by a thick set of bushes, a gate marking the entrance positioned in from the road for large lorries to provide raw material in the day time. These are the signs of an expanding town, developing new constructions. A busy town with figures rushing about.
Behind a wild hedgerow that runs all along the road are positioned an array of what looks like out-buildings of various sizes; Six Caravans and two long tubular constructions like nuclear bomb shelters, the windows opaque with the build up of grime. The grass has grown about them as if they haven't been lived in for a while but it is difficult to tell in the dark and not being able to get up close. Some form of temporary accommodation perhaps, travellers passing through; not around here, they could be shot by groups of marauding farmers, I've seen them roaming the hills. Maybe they bought the land and couldn't afford to build so they just moved in one of those do it yourself house kits or even an ex-army portable type construction and as the family got larger they extended the space out with caravans. That seems logical.
I look at it and think, if only I could buy a piece of land, I could start off with a tent and possibly build on top of that, put a fence around the edge, everybody needs a fence it seems, that's civilisation for you; fencing and lighting, lighting to be able to build a fence etc. The pictures are'nt going to come out. The view finder keeps shows a blank, it's too dark; This camera doesn't have the sensitivity to pick up the reflections, the deep and rich textures that I am glorying in all around me. Nature flies under the radar of modern digital technology. Well, just take them, what ever.
I try out the flash and I immediately feel as though I am part of a crime investigation scene, imagining the chalk outline of a dead man that had been shoved from a passing car. Inspectors all over, ruffling in the grass, sectioning the area off.
Starting to rain again. My outfit is getting ruined!
The dog is kept in by a seven foot fence, so says the sign. Wooden slats, just one more style. I hear no sound, probably out and about in the neighbourhood, they have night sight don't they?
The country road reaches far into the unlit countryside, its insides swathed in dense black. You can move your arms around in there and remove yourself from the physicality of your body. The cracks in the trees show light but where you are the dark is impenetrable. I sense nothing but the gentle breeze waving the branches all around and a feeling of floating around in the middle of it all. A black curtain that you can run and disappear into, away from the lights and the gateways and just feel the rough tree trunks and gravely road under foot. The deathly quiet is hallucinatory. I can hear my breathing loud inside my head. I reach towards the light. Is this the way. This is the way? If a car was to crunch up the right road now would I have time to dive out of the way, or not?
My trainers splash on the water logged steps leading up into my flat, back to finish off my sleep. Inside I can see below the lights blurring. Those singular people in the cold wet stillness of the morning stride habitually to work. They take the short cuts and the cars jog along the tractor trails, loose stones flying out at the grazing sheep, bouncing off their layers of damp wool.
The black, that has veiled everything, thins out to a deep blue and the light begins to press through into the day unveiling rain drenched greens and reds. More vehicles roar up and soon there is a chorus of growling engines. Children take diagonal routes across grass and muddy their feet, up onto the pavements, through the back alleys and out towards the main gates.
I go to make some coffee and open the window for the steam of the kettle to pass out into the morning chill.
The sky brightens in its lavender mist that clouds the roads and hovers quietly in between the houses.