Dull, damp, October. A pheasant in the middle of the road. I always have the wrong lens, and he flies off before I can find another. The road ends, a track begins. Fading signposts point out the Western Way. A gaggle of houses perched over the Corrib. Honeysuckle.
Leaves on the ground turning to sodden mush. I make slow progress, booted, stopping, stooping, trying to see, to grasp. Grasses, mosses, ferns, lichens, mushrooms; endless details of the mundane. I do not know their names. I am a surface junkie. I can name some of the trees: birch, beech, oak, chestnut. Names are surfaces too.
A pair of dark-haired donkeys. I scratch one’s ears. Sheep stare from the ruins of old homes. Forestry, some cut, with saplings growing in plastic tubes. Streams, pools, and the lake. Surfaces and depths. I wonder is there anything there to see, or if I am just more water streaming into a pool. My boots sink into a soft hole: I have left the road, clambered to the shore. A tree has fallen on the edge, still living, laid out in the waves. Maam rises to the North.
I stop where the ground turns to wetter exposed bog, and head back up to the car. It darkens. Raindrops. Am I taking the same photograph again and again? If you keep going back to a place, do you tread any deeper? It is important to re-tread, to exist in spaces at different times, in different moods and seasons. The water will have changed. Yet in our minds we carry static snaps, snipped from one visit or compressed from a mass of passings. It is so hard to see the places where you commute every day. It is hard to see what seems to be always there. It is not always there.
We need to go back when we can see the change, or try to change how we see. We change regardless, without pause, without effort, and it is hard to catch. Maybe it is an accumulation, or maybe a flow: a river path eroding lines through fracturing terrain, down to some waiting pool.