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Canal Reflections




That first day I moved to Hertfordshire the canal shone with a light a little like stardust. My feet squelched in the mud down the canal path like soldiers boots in trench soil, sprinkled with crystalline drops of dew and raindrops. It felt like magic; an English country morning, alive with the pristine breath of fresh air and the wakeful strength of newness.


This place was nothing like the grey and endless city that had come before it. Or the miles of green, country woodland that had come before that. This place was new with a pulse of its own.


Perhaps it was the dawning light, pressing down on honey-stained water like a fragment of heaven squeezed between sky and earth, that had moved me so. A sliver of twinkling amber, sandwiched between two panes of clear glass, a mirror to other worlds that drew me in. I am drawn to water like a parched gazelle on the plains of Africa seeking its freedom in oasis. Maybe that is what had moved me here. The water had called me closer.


I walk tall in my boots here. Strolling down limitless lengths of canal with spring and gusto, the wind behind me. The water drifts lazily beside me, giggling and twinkling with the flirtatious allure of a Hollywood starlet.


I feel the water move in me, the faint echo of the roaring sea. I have the ocean in my blood you see. A country lass, born to a naval man and a mermaid, torn from Cornish shores to seek a life of opportunity inland. But I have sea legs and I can hear the ocean calling me closer, as she does all her children. We all go back eventually.


I see those rugged shorelines and wind-swept waves reflected in the perfectly still waters of the canal. All water flows steadily back to the ocean, so perhaps I shall walk forever in search of the capillaries that lead to the arteries, that lead to the heart.


I am born of the sea, you see.

And there I will return.

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