The day is unbearably hot. There is little air to breathe. It is deathly quiet. Footsteps are laboured as we approach the river Wissey. All is alien and strange. The river bed is plain to see and a mere trickle of water runs the course. A void of rain for many years has decimated the green. Water tables are non-existent. Trees are dead and stand like ruins. The grass is no more and the ground is like concrete blocks.
The curtain of time has been drawn back and we have jumped just a few decades into the future. We are time travellers for the day but there is no excitement! The age of depression is rife. The earthquakes and tsunamis at the beginning of the century was the trigger. All was ignored but perhaps it was already too late!
It is winter but the seasons no longer change. The sugar beet factory of years ago was replaced by an ugly incinerater but that is now spent and redundant. It merely steams and does nothing. People stay indoors every day waiting for their computer sent instructions. There is no reason or gain to go outside.
Once upon a time the river was superior with beauty and nature was rich but all slowly declined. Fish stocks vanished over a handful of years. Warning signs were obvious but too few people listened or cared. The otters, the cormorants and the illegal eastern europeans were all blamed. No doubt each contributed but now who cares – all was overtaken by mass pollution anyway. Climate changes came and bad became worse. The smell of waste and death is all that remains. Anything positive has disappeared. A sadness rules and memories are best forgotten! Life continues in a different way. Survival is the only importance and to most even this is no longer a priority.
We must quickly step back and return to the present. The picture we saw was sad and sick. We must pay heed and take action. We must protect and enjoy the wonders of nature on our doorstep. So many things are taken for granted and it is important we pass those pleasures onward. Visit the river, walk the fields and meadows for the clock is ticking!
Farewell from Ivor Hook