Two Rivers and a Sea

I haven’t left the sea behind. It’s always with me. I see it mingle with the thread of river that defines the city. A ribbon that widens and narrows, rises and falls twice daily. As a bulk of light that spreads golden like a cymbal, or like ripples, swirls and eddies as if it’s shivering in the cold, like a kaleidoscope on a bright spring day or like grey, grungy green, khaki colored soup. Flowing forward, flowing back, static at its peak when it is plump and full, neither here nor there, just being.. And when it’s gone, it leaves a scooped out basin, revealing a muddy stone strewn place.

There is a river, in another place, that literally flowed right past my door. It has big rocks and boulders that were dumped there by the ice age, still fixed in place, unmoved by time, weather or human interference. Thousands of years in one place. The stones and boulders landed in a pattern to enable you to pick your way across, carefully balancing before taking the next step. This river dipped into a trickle in the summer but when the rains had been, the thunder rush of water was strong and voluminous and noisy. It powered clearly over the biggest boulder forming a glassy smooth surface before it tumbled and crashed below.

The big river/sea is organised and controlled by walls, its flow contained and its path determined, the only variable is the water level, which can rise substantially. Even the threat of it overflowing is controlled by the barrier upstream.

The other river is lined by trees and vegetation that reach the waters edge, on a lower portion down away from the house, is a hazelnut tree. The bank on the other side rises to steep slopes with carefully trodden pathways created by sheep. This flank of river bank turns yellow and purple in summer, ferns flourish, lush like a jungle, bilberries grow underneath. At the top of the mountain side you can see the sea, where the river is headed. It doesn’t have far to go.

Published by Maggie Winnall

Hello, I'm Maggie, I am an artist who writes in fabric and thread, stitching the 'text' into textiles and colour into quilts..... You can read more on my About page at

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