When I was seventeen in 1959, the lake was as wild a place as I knew. My friend Jeremy Hooker and I would arrive there at around 4 a.m. in early summer, ditch our bikes in the tangle of rhododendrons, and pick out the narrow path by torchlight as we tiptoed, in existentialist duffel coats, through the brush. Still a long way from the water, we moved like burglars, since we attributed to the carp extraordinary sagacity and guile, along with an extreme aversion to human trespassers on its habitat. Crouched on our knees, speaking in whispers, we assembled our split-cane rods. In the windless dark, the lake’s dim ebony sheen was at once sinister and promising. Somewhere out there, deep down, lay Leviathan, or at least his shy but powerful cyprinid cousin.
the above is the opening paragraph to Jonathan Raban‘s essay ‘Second Nature’ which features in the latest edition of Granta and is in the shops now
also included are extracts from ‘Notes From Walnut Tree Farm’, the forthcoming collection of writings taken from Roger Deakin’s notebooks plus essays by Paul Farley & Niall Griffiths, Richard Mabey, Mark Cocker on the brilliant contemporary landscape artist Kurt Jackson and an excellent article on life on the Fens written by Robert Macfarlane with inspiration and photographic accompaniment provided by Justin Partyka (who also did the books cover shot). Below is one of Justin’s photos and a link to his website. Go look, he’s good.
(credit; Justin Partyka / Granta)
Justin Partyka website