This one is based on a panoramic drawing done at Cattawade on the Suffolk/Essex border, UK. The working drawing is also in the panoramas folio. I’m starting to think about combining writing with prints and here is a piece I wrote about a large flock of starlings, for this panorama :
Two among many
They were walking, fast, steps breaking breath and breath pacing footfalls. She looked up at the sky, high and empty. The last slap of autumn sun had left the clouds bruised pink and blue. This looming dome felt thin and treacherous and she began to fall, again, into the cold empty pool above her head.
Her father’s hand felt warm, dry and rough like the bark of the apple tree.They walked together through the fading light and arrived at the edge of night. They tumbled through their talk as well, fell through the talking and the landscape like high divers somersaulting down, down towards different lakes.She saw her father as a man whose life had already congealed, watched him pacing to and fro among the adult furnishings of habit and duty. Where she tingled with possibilities, he was a carrier and a mender and a useful obstacle.
He saw his daughter as a small hard point of light, dancing through the dusk. But in the way these things always are, he only saw the fading trace of her younger self. He was mostly blind to the brightly separate life she now carried and defended so fiercely with her cupped hand.Yet they were anything but strangers, even though they knew so little of each other at that moment. They loved each other fiercely, like expatriates, and were both wistful for a country they would not return to for many years.
From the eastern edge of the great cold pool the blue black tide of night lapped towards them. A single starling broke through the high treetops and circled upwards. It was followed by a sea of calls, many thousands of single piping sounds that merged to make a perfectly circular ripple that spread outwards from the flock.
Now a river of starlings was winding towards them but he didn’t hear them, only felt a remote echo like the swimming pool squeals of children, heard from underwater. Calls and cries that merge to a muted roar that carries over great distances.This strong spring of birds unwound itself over their heads and it made him speechless. It was a torrent that raised the hairs on his spine and made his scalp damp and uncomforted. His eyes wide and upward and over filled with such an urgent blind flow of beings.
This river of black moments closed over their heads and took the movement from their legs. For uncountable floating moments there was nothing to touch or hold and they were dizzy and twisting on a river with no sight of the banks. So many sharp orange eyes, so many blue black wings and cold claws. They lost count , and distance and compass in the torrent. Then the spring went slack and they were left speechless and beached on the damp earth.
Written for Maya.