12 - Power lines
When I’m out walking, I like to use continuous lines if I’m drawing. They let me put a lot down very quickly, following shapes and jumping from one interesting thing into another without distinction. Sometimes this creates interesting associations and patterns in my mind. I’ve been revisiting a certain corner with my sketchbook on walks over recent days, drawing the same tree by a small pond. Nothing particular about that tree. It usually has a couple of pigeons cooing in it. Except, my drawings have merged its branches each time with the arms of a simple wooden pylon, holding up its power lines and those tantalising reddish-brown porcelain insulators with their pleasing plump disk-like shapes. Today, my routine sketch of this tree and its skinnier companion across the path were accompanied by the strangest of sounds, a rhythmic pulsing echo through the railway line that runs along a hidden cutting parallel with the path. Our Island Line trains, octogenarian tube trains which operated on the London Underground in the 1930s, have finally been retired, and I caught a distant glimpse of orange jackets and hard hats at work on the track in preparation for their replacement. What these workers were doing to make this eerie sound was a mystery to me, but I do enjoy the unfathomable sense of mystique these hidden human networks and industrious activity can create, especially when they crop up unexpectedly in odd corners when we think we’re out for a peaceful walk in the natural world.
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