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One week ago, it was okay to go where I pleased.

Updated: May 3, 2020

The idea was to get away from London; in effect the ever-increasing hustle; to simply hustle, to retreat from the burgeoning onslaught of simply not enough hours in the day, implying unpretentiously breathe, maybe even lounge in the pleasure of exhale, to own it, all the latter beset by the intensity in which the Coronavirus (COVID-19) provokes moments quantifying the benefit of avoiding a fatality.

Birmingham: place of birth, Sandwell would be the location, myself, my camera, my fatigue and a dear member of the family breaking bread, “chopping up” the implications of the grimace of “concrete” contortion, as opposed to Sandwell Valley, a nature reserve run by the RSPB, in Sandwell Valley of which is to the north of West Bromwich, in the Sandwell borough of West Midlands.

6:45 am, ten minutes’ walk later from the family home, it’s damp, bearably cold, treacherously muddy in places making for ill equipped footwear tempting slip ‘n’ slide with every step. And yet, striking a poise, not so much standing at attention, more paying attention; the posture simply astounded by the sound of birdsong in the morning, unquestionably concerto excellence, it was as if life had a taste, once, and the birdsong reminding the lost essence what it use to taste like; the possibilty, once..

Navigating paths, following the trail adjacent to the canal, the colours, in the middle of march, on a cold, damp English morning. The green is green out here, innately the sight of it provoking instincts only to be determined as natural, when words escape the use for words to describe the ecological lure provoking the quest that for some is escape from the rigours of City life.

Swanning down a fond lane; the sandstone Sandwell is famous for, literally provoking temptation to not only wanting to touch it, but stroke it, because it’s so smooth, that and the desire to connect, to re-connect, with self in the hope that identity can define space and time, the challenge being to truly live in it.them to grasp fish, and the ‘black’ geese, such as Brent and barnacle geese. the Canada goose is not native but introduced to the UK from North America. And the ducks, who are roughly divided into ‘surface feeders’, which rarely dive, and ‘diving ducks’, which dive under for food, information time felt the better for knowing, and photographing with a glee that city life, modern life in general rarely offers, nowadays.

If there wasn’t more to feel appeased by, early afternoon found enthusiasm taking a stroll down the Tame Canal, this linear route starting from Birmingham New Street station and ending at Sandwell & Dudley station, 8. miles /13 km, ascent nominal, top to down 4 hours, managing two I’d never seen roots as deep as the tree roots that littered the path adjacent to the canal, thick, glossy, anthropological roots, of which scream ‘past, future, beauty, age, growth’, affirming verbs and nouns of which such a canal was totally responsible for.

Swanning down a fond lane, noting the sandstone Sandwell is famous for, with eyes upon what could be best describe as affirming stature, the awe literally provoked temptation to not only want to touch it, but stroke it too, because it’s so smooth, that and the desire to connect, to re-connect, with self in the hope that identity can define space and time, the challenge being to truly live in it, time.

In truth, when really there is nothing else worthwhile, the reserve and the canal provoked imagination to think about life, the things modern living doesn’t take the time to see, the crux being things that notice can ill afford to miss. Navigating ripples on the canal, the softness, the serene, the thoughtful, the rigour of 9to5 sprang to mind; the same, lifeless “good morning” greeting rolling off a tongue that gives mundane its piercing sense of norm, as well as community, and spirit, the same stare deep into the current of the river; the course, hypnotised by this real notion of abyss, because it’s free, there at best one certain way too exhale the gratitude of nature’s gift to life, only to contemplate the journey back.

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