Remember the old British Ariways adverts (drawn by Jo Lawrance)? On days when the sky drops to cover Heysham 2 and the flies cluster on the window panes it feels the same around here.
But of course just because you can't see people doesn't mean they're not there or there's no community.
I've written of the car park which brings regulars to the waterside: birders, twitchers, cyclists, dog walkers who share sightings and local chat. Unlike a more urban neighbourliness, paths are crossed far less regularly, names are not known, common passions are perhaps greater. Strange alliances are formed over many years.
Our need for connection is strong enough to forge these relationships despite their tenuous natures, just as we anthropomorphise virtually everything around us: animals, hills, trees, clouds. We instinctively layer meaning and significance upon our surroundings and those in it, adding previous experiences to present encounters.
In this sense nothing is clean. I'm not attaching a positive value to the notion of 'clean', in fact 'clean' could suggest something devoid of organisms/life. I like spiders' webs, the long grasses at a lawn's edge, the muddy waters between me and another person, in which I can't help but feel something of what they feel: be it joy or grief.
A neighbour died this week. I've known him for four or so years. We had the locality in common, our love for it. Not that we discussed it much. It was implicit between us, in our more idle chat about the fishing season, cows, milk subsidies, the wind. And I think that was what we liked in each other as much as whatever else it is that draws us to certain people. The ground on which we stood, the air we breathed was held in mutual admiration and love, and through that we connected. Before I moved here I'm not sure what would have brought us together. Probably nothing. Now he's gone, I'm not sure what separates us. He isn't a distinct living individual anymore. Being less defined allows him to permeate more. Perhaps Obi-Wan was right