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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Great brown god

We're talking rivers here. The original brown god was actually the river in Boston USA. The one granny means, the one she's looking out on, is the River Thames. Which can be grey as much as brown. Today it's a mixture of the two.

Granny is staying in a flat belonging to her dear psychiatrist friend, currently in Italy. It is 6 floors up and overlooks Hammersmith Bridge and the river, upstream and downstream. For almost the whole of her adult life Granny has lived within short walking distance of the river, but this is the first time she has actually lived overlooking it; briefly alas. She loves the Thames, especially in this urban setting. She loves the way it is just is, doing its own thing, going its own way, no matter what, a piece of untameable wild life amid an otherwise human-made landscape. Here are the swans - there the geese, the ducks, the cormorants, the herons -also doing their own thing. There too are fish now but she's never seen them. Sometimes the river imposes itself. Rises up over its edges into the roads. Cars left by the unwary who do not know its treacherous ways float away - something Granny views with slightly wicked pleasure: it is her river, she knows it after all. She wouldn't be so stupid. Now, in this flat, she looks out, at the cars coming over the bridge, at the striving rowers on the water, at the birds, at the trees on the other bank. She can almost forget - as you can always forget walking here along the towpaths, over the bridges and back home again - that she's living in a city. The river is something else.

A something else that also reminds her - as the papers do - have done - all this year - that such things can be dangerous. Much much more than cars could float away. The river currently is contained by the Thames Barrier. If global warming continues - it will continue - this will not last. London is not New Orleans yet. But who knows. The river isn't telling.

Right now, alone for the first time since everything blew up, she has time to reflect on what has happened to her over the past two months. Mainly she is tired; very; inevitably she supposes. She's catching up with all kinds of tedious little jobs which didn't get done meanwhile. Right now, instead of doing this she should be sorting out her tax. Writing this is pure displacement activity.

Yesterday - sorry it's back to things mammary again - but only briefly - yesterday she learned that in due course, those like her divested of one such mammary appendage will be able to grow on themselves another one. Imagine it; a fifty, sixty, seventy year old, watching the little bud swell on their chest, just like a twelve year old. A rather charming thought. (For her anyway.) With which she will leave you...

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