Lean In
The narrative of marriage


Path to the river

In contrast to the heat wave engulfing America, here on Dartmoor we're having a chilly, damp summer -- so when the sun breaks through the cloud cover at last, I pack my work into a knapsack, whistle for the pup, and head down to the river.

What I want is a spot where I can sit and write...

River 1

...and what Tilly wants is a spot with easy access to the water. We find a place that suits us both, and I settle down with notebooks, sketchbooks, pencils, pens, and a thermos of tea spread out on the grass around me. The pup steps into the shallows...

River 2b

...her attention caught by some sheep on the opposite bank...

Sheep in shade

... and then they are forgotten in the rapturous delight of cold water on a clear, hot day.

River 3

River 4

River 5

A little farther downstream, the river forks in a roaring clash of water on stone. It's deeper here, and the rapids are strong, foaming white as milk below the cover of the trees...

Rapids 2

...but Tilly, undaunted, dances out onto the stones as whitewater churns merrily below. Back on the bank, my heart is in my throat as I watch my fearless, fleet-footed girl...

Rapids 4

Rapids 3

...until she's safely back on shore at last. She gives a good shake, so that I'm wet too...

Wet dog

...and then the two of us walk on.

If I could hold on to this summer and this sun by strength of will alone, oh, I would never let it go -- for summer is the season, says the poet William Carlos Williams, when "the song sings itself."

As we head home, the land is singing around us: a song of light, a choir of green.

River walk

River walk 2