I’ve been cycling a slightly longer but vastly calmer and nicer way to work lately, along the Wyrley and Essington canal towpath. It adds about ten minutes at most to my journey and immesurably more to the quality and happiness of my working day.
The waterfowl have been breeding well this year and there are families of ducks, geese, coot and moorhen busily feeding, nesting, squabbling and resting along the entire route. It’s not bad for a canal network that passes through what used to be one of Britain’s most busy and polluted industrial areas. Among other factors it is a testament to the work of many volunteers and bodies like the Canal & Rivers Trust.
There is a profusion of plant-life, without which the birds would not be here, of course; ducks, like people, cannot live by bread alone!
The waterlilies are beginning to emerge from the muddy canal bottoms, growing towards the light around the bottles, cans, tyres, supermarket trollies and occasional bikes that continue the ancient tradition, if not spirit, of casting offerings into bodies of water to bring good fortune (or avoid arrest!).
I saw some particularly fine flowers opening, like their cousins the lotus, among floating debris from people I presume more interested in numbing their minds than waking them to the beauty around them.
Somehow I found that more inspiring to photograph than the more conventionally “nice” compositions all around. It reminded me that hidden beauty still emerges despite the litter, vandalism, graffiti and darkness of despairing, angry and agitated minds. Whatever the conditions, the waterlilies persevere in rising towards the light; there’s inspiration in that.
Enjoy your journeys.