Chalk Stream Lullaby

I do not know much about gods, but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god, sullen untamed and intractable’

This short phrase is taken from T.S.Eliot at the beginning of the rolling and wonderful, Dry Salvages, in the Four Quartets. It is said he was inspired to write it by some rocks with a beacon on the north east coast of America at Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

River Mel, Meldreth. Photograph: Yvonne Chamberlain © 2018

The river Mel is a classic English chalk stream that I have walked in all weathers for the last 18 years and in winter it can indeed be sullen, especially when just below the A10  when it becomes full of crisp packets, plastic bottles and other things which just happen to be dumped from cars. It is only the painstaking work of the River Mel Restoration volunteers who have slowly removed this from the river there. It links my village, Meldreth, with the next village, Melbourn, and is a well-worn route crossing fields and through woodlands used by dog walkers, runners, and children on their way to Melbourn village college.

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