“It’s May the 8th, the hedgerows are starred with celandines, wild garlic, cuckoo spit and dandelions, the swallows chattering their adventures of Africa, scything across the sky. I can hear a cuckoo. I saw a hare this morning on our way here. A greening in the tree tops and a blue haze underfoot – violet and wood sorrel. And here, another spring, a source, a beginning: the birth of a river, and of a journey stepping stones to the sea.
What prevails is the music of the river still tumlbing through my dreams, composed while I slept on the banks of the Leri.
Memories of the intimate places revealed, inhabited by those living in other worlds. Secret moss cushioned places, warm nests and hares statue still, splattered in dappled light.
The gift, to sink slowly below the surafce of the Leri rather than catching only a fleeting glimpse of this rivery world.” JLF
Early in May, 2016, Jane Lloyd Francis and Gwilym Morus-Baird undertook a three day journey down the River Leri from source to sea. This half hour sound recording is a record of that journey, including the conversations had, the music played and the stories of people they met on the way.
Please listen to the recording here . . . in return we simply ask that you leave a comment below.
“It’s not often that you get to walk for three days. Before such a journey, there is naturally some expectation, the mind leaping ahead to the imagined stillness of land, river and sky. But the quality found in the moment of walking isn’t the stillness of sitting by a tree, or of watching from a rock in the river. Yes, there is plenty of that stillness to be had, but what I mean is the stillness that’s found in rhythm, in returning time and time again to the same, inevitable movement.
This is where I went, although it was only some days later at home that I came to know it. It was as if my footsteps, striking stones, roots and compacted soils, still echoed inside. Coming home to wife and children, the jumping beans of games and love, had loosened that hard skin of memory.
And was that why we’d done it? My mind returned often to the question of what it meant to be on a pilgrimage. As one naturally confused by religion it set me asking. I’ve had my share of moments with friends, those whittled down to the bone, bleached white in the sharp light of a faith. But they’re long gone down the path, and could offer me no wisdom on what my layman’s walk could mean.
So all I have is that we walked and found paths, and the muscle memory of the slow, subliminal rhythm that carried us down. And for all of my mind’s chatter, I finally gave over to grace in rivers and stones and trees, the living land jumping up as if stirred by my clumsy footfall.
And as with each footfall, somehow each space between mid-stride also remains. In them now I find not so much my own musings, but all those things that stood and flowed and held true as I walked by. It was the things that I passed that remain present to me still, and so I dedicate this memory back to them, and return this recollection to its source.” GMB
This project was funded by Cymerau.