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Published: June 24th 2012
Summer rain in the time-borrowed garden.
Everything is drenched, rain heavy, dripping - the air, the hedgerows, grass, foxgloves, roofs and pathways are all rain covered.
The rain rebounds off the old pigsty roof, dancing up and down. It sings a song around me. The rain-showers become a chorus repeating back and forth in between the verses of quiet. It is 7am and I am in garden of an old house in the Arkwright village of Cromford. It is void of human interaction, no cars, no neighbours, everyone is sleeping inside and I can clearly hear the patterns of the shifting rain.
Above the valley, the mist is rising and the clouds sink down. I can just make out the horizon. The gardens overlap, divided by old dry-stone walls, obsolete pig stys, stone steps and lichen covered gates because they have grown here since Arkwright moved in with his cotton looms and water powered mills.
This is the village where my children’s great grandmother lived and where my great grandmother had a shop and gave toys away to the poor kids – they don’t know this and until today, I forgot.
It has not stopped raining for about three months. We all snatch the brief times in between the wet weather and make the most of it, so, with the break in the clouds and a hint of blue, I run in, dress quickly and leave the sleeping house.
Walking through the village, the wet-heavy scent of honeysuckle lingers, the hem of my dress is wet and I have the wrong shoes on.
There is a freshness here that has abandoned the cities and goes unnoticed by the young. I am weaving in between the paths of the overlapping gardens, around the old walled pit with cascading water in front of the abandoned tin smith’s forge, around the celebrated in-tact pig sty and can be forgiven for falling back in time a hundred years.
The road to Bonsall is walled on either side by deep, dark, wet woods and on the left is the harnessed river water, rushing in falling cascades gathering back-up power for the redundant mills below in Cromford. There is fresh water running everywhere, harnessed and free and all of the walls are covered in deep moss.
I’ve been looking for some time, since
I returned from China, for something I thought I had lost. And, without warning, as I’m walking, I find it here – on the old road to Bonsall.
In the rain, by the gushing river water, I find a meeting of self and nature and total inner peace with myself and realise that at this tiny, precise, exact meeting point, I find my lost soul. Simultaneously, I understand that it was never lost in China and comprehend that I can find my soul at ANY place because it is inside me. It was never lost, it just gets covered over – it has never been about a time or a place.
Cromford 8.50am 24th
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