As well as the lovely parts of London, I get to frequent some pretty grotty ones too. The area around North Acton station is what one might call post-industrial, a soulless collection of cheaply constructed, thoughtlessly designed warehouses with an unloveable countenance. Those that have not already been demolished to make way for bland new apartment blocks and university buildings will be bulldozed in the path of HS2, the new high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham. I doubt anyone will mourn their passing.
I’m a firm believer that beauty can be found in the most unpromising situations. Crossing an ugly, featureless bridge over the Central Line tracks, I spied, glinting in the rising sun, a miniature landscape of lushly vegetated islands surrounded by sparkling reefs, adrift in a murky sea. It was as if I were looking down from a light aircraft, on the approach to a Pacific island paradise.
Each mossy island had a mist of melting frost hovering above it, tiny droplets of water waiting for the feeble winter sun to disperse them. Silvery encrustations of lichen spread like ice across the cold stone, flaking away in the middle to create glittering atolls in an ocean of concrete. It was nothing short of magical: a little piece of heaven in an industrial hell. I carried on my merry way with a mossy spring in my step and thoughts of a tropical holiday on my mind.
Categories: Foliage, Musings, Photography
21 comments On "The Atolls of Acton"
I know what you mean about finding beauty in the most unlikely places, but to do it you perhaps need to retain the eyes of a child. In the street in North Kensington where I lived for a long time as a child there was just one plane tree, which I loved for its beauty in every season, from the little velvety budding leaves to the gloriously coloured falling ones, and the wonderful mottled trunk. Just the fact that it was the only living thing nearby made it more special, and meant that I observed every detail of its growth more closely.
I understand completely June. Where I work in Victoria the only living things we can see are plane trees. I use them to judge the passing of the seasons from the comfort of my dull grey office.
What an unusual observation…they are just like tropical islands!mwho would have thought it and in Acton too! Great photos Dan and thanks for sharing them!
Thanks Anne. They are just iPhone snaps – even then I got some strange looks balancing my phone on the parapet of a busy road bridge at 7am in the morning!
I like this so much I want to use it in the classroom. May I, please Don? I will send you the worksheet. 😊
Regards, Jack (absent from WordPress for too long; there is great joy to be found here!)
Of course you can Jack. Good to have you back. It’s been way too long!! How are you keeping? Are you enjoying your new home? Dan
I love this little mossy mounds. There are a lot on the stone walls here in the Cotswolds.
We had a lovely frosty weekend in Bibury about 3 years ago and enjoyed all the mossy walls, frozen woodlands and crystalline streams. A lovely part of the world to live in.
Truly beautiful, yes there is beauty to be found if we just look. I really notice surface texture when out and about, and I really like the bent forms of leafless trees bearing the brunt of the Cornish north coast wind, especially when they are against a clear sky.
I’ll be in Cornwall, on the north coast, shortly. There is something particularly evocative about those tortured trees isn’t there? They are so much part of the landscape and the history of that part of the world.
Was this outing all part of your convalescence?
Hope you’re better now and thanks for a beautiful, thought provoking post. I definitely find blogging has helped to open my eyes.
I am not very good at convalescing, so I was back at work on Tuesday. The cough has got worse if anything. I am just ignoring it now, but pity everyone that has to listen to me hacking away!
I am always amazed at the power of plants.
The beauty of nature is all around us. You found it in an unlikely spot but nevertheless it is still beautiful. You are also probably one of the very few who will smile as you walk past. 🙂
Yes, these icy little hummocks of moss really did please me on that frosty morning. Hope you have a lovely weekend Judy.
Just like the hedgehogs and other wildlife, plants are trying to make the best of our changing world. Good for you for really seeing what was there.
It has been a mossy winter down here in the south west, lovely to see that nature can take over up in the city too.
It tries! It is heartening to see lichens can make a home in our polluted metropolis.
Reading just your headline and seeing the first picture, I thought of the Scandinavian skerry landscape, off the coast of Sweden!
Lovely pictures and hats off to you for spotting this scene and linking it to an atoll – it really does look like islands in the sea.
A wonderful tiny world. You can see why Japanese moss gardens are such successful landscapes. Funnily enough I was just reading about an artist who creates rugs that look just like this: http://www.boredpanda.com/wool-carpet-forest-moss-alexandra-kehayoglou/
Lovely, you are a man who knows how to look and to see x