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ROE

All around us, the daylight has turned green: far-stretching trees on each side of the river grow in the wind and on the sun they filter to make a tattered, hardly-moving screen above us, where our three faces are shining, drenched by reflections from the running water that keeps these big stones slippery and clean.

As though we were all hidden in deep light, moving at speed and good at keeping quiet, we might follow the last of the O’Cahans, their old ghosts still expertly out of sight like the day-wary, solitary otter we think we’re tracking, always that bit further away around the next bend, sitting tight.

If we could cross the water with one leap and then – a dog’s leap was it, or a horse’s? – bring word of trouble coming, ward off trouble in the bright branches and the sap and seep of tree-roots high above these river pathways, we would see outright all the scattering creatures and join them in the silence that they keep.

Over the water, far under the sky, birds dart away from view on the hunt for insects, and we can sense that this whole place is teeming as living things retreat, regroup, slip by; we are all river-light – look at our faces – but in the here and now, close to the open where colours like these brighten as they die.

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