My Life Place

Re-connecting with the River Mersey and Re-inhabiting the Bioregion

Regenerative River Republic

Riverine locations where I have lived, studied and worked in the Manchester-Mersey bioregion

Musing on the Mersey : Diary Fragment: November 2020

Fate would have it that the Mersey and all her tributaries have claimed me, not me the river; channelling this liquid-modern nomad from source to sea. Many streams I once dimly thought disparate but now realise to be one living river, connect me to the places I’ve lived and people I’ve loved over my working life.  As teacher, headteacher, now lecturer. From the River Sett to Goyt and River Tame to Irwell. From the River Bollin running eventually, unimagined by locals, to the mouth of the Mersey. Afon Merswy, as those with longer memories  remember her in the tongue of the Old North, on whose banks I’ve washed up for now, somewhere muddy between worlds. A confluence of otherwise coincidences. From here she flows out to Liverpool Bay and into the Irish Sea of joined-up shores and isles of shared humanity before nations were, urging in the surging of wave more mingling than enmity. As far as the Liver bird flies out beyond Eire or the worker bee dances inland. Here before me in the moonlight is Mǣres, ‘boundary river’ in Anglo-Saxon, blatantly misnamed because she’s the lifecourse, of course, that connects us more than any border she once marked. Gazing across to the Wirral from Aigburth I wonder, are we more lost than we think if we don’t happen to know the current whereabouts of her nearest waterway to us right now. Does our sixth sense harken to her Sat Nav free navigation? Do we feel for her flow? I find I get my bearings better when I’m mindful of her presence and less absent when I remember she’s near. Grounded by water. Variously known in different parts, merely as Otters’ pool by some or Atlantic gateway more grandly, both slave-market docks and mill-town sewage, cloud-clad brook and seafarer’s haven. I sense both the pure spring and upland drain in our archipelago vein. Whether we’re on the frayed coastal edge of her effluence or hale from the high moorland hills of her rising in Pennine drizzle, some of us minded her rivercide by poisoning and tend her birthing still. To think is to thank, for the life-giving sustenance of this great water-dwelling we take for granted, without whom this life-place is a wasteland, as fond to wayward hearts abroad as the hearth-path home, upstream or down.

Tim Saunders, Aigburth, 2nd Lockdown 2020

© 2024 EduSynthesis

Centre for Mindful Educational Leadership

Tim Saunders PhD


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