suburbia 2/

Thought I’d continue the thread on scenes in suburbia I started last month. On Sunday last, I got my first shot of the Covid 19 vaccine. Bit of a historical moment that. In my excitement, I jumped on the wrong bus heading there. I was so engrossed in local high street scenes, that I only realised when I was already miles beyond where I was going. I’d been making mental notes of spots I wanted to return to and photograph. The sun made everything a frame. I disembarked at a random suburban stop, hailed an Uber, and just about made my slot. Afterwards, I stood for a while in the same spot outside the local community hall, trying to get my bearings. I decided to walk instead of taking the bus again. Used cranes in the sky to direct me as to which way home is; navigating by way of local building sites.

I ended up in park, as do most days these days. Stopped for a while at a spot where birds gather en masse to “shoot their shot” (or so I imagine). Or gossip. Or strategise. But it’s loud, and it makes you turn your gaze up. Hail the day, birds.


I felt fuzzy-headed during the week; a side effect from the vaccine, who knows. A walk to the park on Wednesday drained the blood from my face, and left me wanting my mom. Got home on autopilot somehow. Thursday, something similar. Felt like I was walking in a fever dream. The sun came out for a bit in the morning, and it had rained the night before, so there were mirror puddles everywhere. Reflecting bits of sky, trees, telephone wires. A low haze hung above the ground, like steam rising from the grass. One lone guy on the pump track. Not riding; just sitting on his bike, looking at his phone. Three different trains blasted past behind him in this scene. Some other guy in the foreground was shouting at his dog for no reason. I shielded my eyes from the slow-rising sun, like I wanted to shield my ears from his shouting.


Friday the fuzz started to clear, and yesterday I fell back into that observational way of the (street) photographer. The details came back into focus, and I listed them in my head as I walked to the park. Little kid in a window waving. Paint on a roof, peeling and fading. My own breath. Dripping water. An empty saucer. A rosebud. A salt bin. My pale skin. Mottled sky. Downhill slide. Bare branches. Empty school. Plane up above. Turtledoves. Squinting mom. Sullen son. Dutch-style house. Curve in the path. Mattress leaning against a tree. Dog off its leash running free. Cracked slate. Electrified gate. Apricot sweater. Turning weather. Bubbling brook. Abandoned book. A metal skip to put it all in.

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