Welney 2 January 2022

This in-between is actually what we have most in common.
Fred Dewey: The School of Public Life, Errant Bodies Press p238

You go back to Welney after 10 years. Instead of walking in the dusk on the flooded paths, you are sitting in this wooden hide. Some swans seem habituated to the people who feed them: they wait in the lights. Others, together with waders and ducks, stay in the darkness and further off to the right. they cluster along a long thin spit. From time to time they raise themselves abruptly: thickly in the air. Their wings flash as they turn. Thinking those memories of light flickering and sounds punctuating – the air was strangely warm and the tracks were knee deep in water - you picked your way around in a line.

12,000 whooper swans are meant to be on the Washes - the area of seasonal overflow of the Rive Ouse. You don't know who counted them or how, beacuse they actually wrote 12,091 or something. Only a small segment of the scattered population is here before you floating on the dark water. The whooper swans arrive from Iceland, some in their first year, greyish, seeming more lightly built. During the day they feed on the fields, damaging the winter wheat. At a distance they look like sheep : big white objects on bright green ground. The swans on the water call when new swans fly in from the fields, landing in patches of open water. All afternoon walking through the wet fields or sitting in a hide, groups of birds, some invisible alone, turn more or less feintly in clusters - now dense, now scattered. Their calls accompany them, sewn thickly or thinly through the air the way seed stitches cross a patch.

It's a bright cold day in London. The farmers and the swans are a distant recall, antagonising one another in that big wet landscape, keeping one another up all night. Thinking in cycles, in channels – dykes, sluices, drains –the soundworlds of those areas – deltas, wetlands, indeterminate regions of unstable mixes – emulsions, slurries - operate as lures, calls, escapements out: sustaining the in-betweens that link from thing to thing to thing – milieu intérieur, ground substance, mud clock.. Think of the way grey seals and participants in Hannah Tuuliki's workshops are luring each other - calling to one another between a remote spit and the River Clyde – how those things are brought into connection in radio mixing – something arises between channels – in between the singers in the workshop, the river and the remote feed from Walney Island – it arises feintly, undramatically in the mix – a surplus or overflow