In the country of Riverwitch

Last weekend I made a pilgrimage: a journey to the territory of Riverwitch. To the little old white cottage by the waterfall in the wood. For this one week, to take possession of it – or, more likely, to have it take possession of me. It is for sure a pilgrimage to come here – a journey across two seas. First, across the Minch (ever-vigilant for a rare glimpse of the Blue Men) and then, after a long night-time drive down to the far south-west corner of Scotland, across the Irish Sea to Belfast. A three-hour drive through the rolling green hills and fertile fields of north Ulster, a snowy stumble across the mountains, all the way west, and I’m home.

The riverHome to the river.

Riverwitch! It’s her voice which catches you first: a raucous, joyful clatter of sound as she tumbles down the waterfall, somersaults across the stepping stones, and plunges down through the valley to the sea. A third sea – or actually, an ocean; this time, it’s the Atlantic I’m looking out to from the hills. Her voice is everywhere, in and around this house. She is in full spate, and she is glorious. There is no stopping her: on she flows, the original migrant. She is everywhere and nowhere; she travels on and still she remains. The land thirsts for her; the sun sees himself reflected in her. She is the Earth’s laughter, her accompaniment the music of trees, her stories the dreams of fish.

She is what I have thirsted for, for so long.

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