Unknown river



The twilight wind up the river from the Croatia-Slovenia border.

It gets colder so I turn the heat up in the cabin, as I’m alone, and gaze out.

‘e come uno specchio…’ The river could be mistaken for a lake. Wide, flat expanses of linear crops attempt vanishing points, but it just cuts them off. Built up riverbank layers of concrete. Beyond, some dark hills.

Birds fly over it, beneath it. On the banks, a van with all the doors open. No lights, no-one inside it or anywhere to be seen.

everything reflected in this river. Not even sure it’s a river. Something more man-made perhaps. No, it’s too big.

A little later, a family, standing still looking at the devastation wrought by an army of orange JCB’s. Branches twisted. Man about ten metres away looking at his phone. Child hugging mother, refusing to look. Mother not moving.

And then wide open again.

A deserted factory with its rusty conveyors next to a deserted mansion house. Nearby, a church, its lights on, the only lights for miles around.

A thin trail of smoke gently bends over the river so as to see its reflection. Pumpkins trailing off from the embers, scattered in clumps as though neglected, but actually busy growing.

The triain’s hugging the cliff-side as it gets dark, the oncoming side of the tracks illuminated briefly by light coming from an old couple in their compartment a little further down the wagon. My light stays switched off. The windows are I think a little tinted; surely the world is not like this.

Nothing now except different shades of darkness, black and a kind of deep grey-blue above, seperated by the silhouette of trees. As the train bends round another mountain I notice the rock’s silhouette up there is moving very slowly, which means what i’m seeing is far away, very high above me. Something about this trip which brings me to my core. Like feeling very scared and safe at the same time. Foreign and so close. Big red illuminated letters, PREDILNICA LITIJA. I don’t know.

And now, if you can imagine, a bonfire, dark everywhere and all around, nothing but black and then a roaring bonfire floating in the middle there. Rediscovering Fennesz’s album Field Recordings 1995-2002… on a track called Instrument 3, as here.

Photo actually taken just before new year 2007, somewhere near the French / Swiss border, a similar sense.




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