An Artist's Perspective on the Chalk Stream
Melissa Wall, Local Artist
A perspective on the Chalk Stream
Historians will share with you how the streams were used, how the meandering waters crossed boundaries and borders through villages and towns and neighbouring fields. They might give you an idea of who lived along its banks and how the landscape has changed over time. History will guide us through era’s gone by.
Scientists will tell you how the streams evolve. What life its cold waters support, by continuously and methodically measuring its precarious ecological system. They will advise on how best to maintain its flow, and healthy habitat. Through measurements and collation of data, Science will present us with the facts.
Farmers and land workers and even the locals will remind you of the year waters flowed at their highest, or when the rivers ran dry and what cattle paddled over the centuries through its icy streams. Farmers have lived and breathed by the water’s edge, they are custodians of the land and minders of the water beds and will impart words of wisdom past down by generations before them.
Artists and poets and creatives alike will lead you, much like a meandering Stream, into a place where new perspectives can be discovered and explored. Where black and white no longer exist and all ideas and thoughts are valid. They can see stories of mystery, magic and intrigue rippling from the land to the sea.
A Stream can take an artist on a journey into an inner world, tapping into their psyche to understand that even in Winter, when all is in a deep sleep, life is still very much present. A winter stream will remind us that there is a time for rest but ideas and dreams will continue to flow.
Come Springtime, as the air gradually begins to warm up, signs of life begin to stir, both above and below the water. An artist will viscerally feel its life force return from its slumber, witnessing the unfolding of creation itself, demanding to be captured through the essence of love that is as pure as the chalk stream itself.
By Summertime, the stream is buzzing with aliveness, just like an artist’s imagination. New stories rise to the surface and if the artist isn’t quick or intuitive enough to capture them in their hearts, they dissolve back down to the riverbed as secrets, perhaps to be shared again in another form or another life.
And just as we familiarize ourselves with new growth and creation, Autumnal days seep in. But if we watch and listen closely enough, our Chalk stream will continue to teach us about the ebb and flow of life. About death and rebirth, Grief and loss, Love, and joy and it’ll remind us, that water is a sacred entity and must be cherished at all costs, especially when it rises from a Winterbourne Chalk Stream in our village named Bishops Sutton.