I dwell on proximity: an autumnal morning, a soft Severn sun

Since I moved to Newnham on Severn eleven years ago I have come to love the river, not least because it is the first thing I see in the morning. Every day, I open my bedroom window and take a peek at the weather by looking down the street. Since the arrival of Theo the cat, last year, I also now find myself being greeted by a plaintive meow. My days start with seeing the river – the first conversation I have is with a cat. The sounds I hear, before I get out of bed to look out of the window come from birds, either in the form of a dawn chorus, or the cawing of flocks of jackdaws, gathering on rooftops.

This is my first photo today – I have thousands like this, capturing every weather and mood of the morning. And, sometimes, middle of the night snowfalls.


This picture has a religiosity about it, with it’s warm halo of sunlight hovering above the river. I worship that river. Hidden below that light fog will be an almost-dry riverbed, preparing for another day of ebb and flow. It lurks in silence, bracing itself. And I lurk in my bedroom, reflecting on how lucky I am to live so close to it.

Proximity: nearness in space, time, or relationship.


  • to live or stay as a permanent resident
  • reside; to live or continue in a given condition or state: to dwell in happiness
  • to linger over, emphasise, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing
  • to dwell on a particular point in an argument.

I dwell on proximity

I dwell on the river

I ponder in thought, speech and writing

I add images to my pondering process

I most definitely linger

I consider the other side of the river, which at this moment I cannot see. But I know it is there. It’s reliable, dependable. I trust it to be there. Apparently if I dream about crossing a river it means: Making great changes. If you are in the water to cross, it means meeting a lot of emotions in the process of change. So not being able to cross the river shows a barrier in your external or internal life that prevents progress or personal growth – such as the ability to love or be creative in some way.

I cross the river, so these words are reassuring. They make me safe in the knowledge that I am not preventing my personal growth or ability to love or be creative. It’s a great relief to know that.

All these thoughts make me smile this morning – the arrival of the autumn light, the coolness of the air, the fact that I shall be meeting people on the other side of the river this weekend in Purton. On ‘the other side’. I do wonder whether my immersion in this thinking about the other side is a form of distraction from the more unnerving ‘other side’ issues that are happening in the world today. I used to listen to Radio 4 in the morning, but the bleakness of the news now makes me switch it off quite promptly, once it has done it’s job of waking me up.

I prefer to listen to the world in proximity, to dwell upon that.

Details about the exhibition are here. Tomorrow please join me on a walk, meet at 10am opposite St Johns Church, and we can talk together about these river musings, and more.

Then come and eat cake!



Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

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