In the cemetery where the remains of the Moselle flow, where the dead live, a patchwork story of mine stitches itself together. The unexpected boon of living so close by; away from the park with the crackheads and the bags of crumpled can, away from the Yid Army, the grime of the high road and the torn-apart stadium. In the cemetery it is quiet, and the cemetery is bigger than it appears, or perhaps smaller, different to what you may expect. I don’t know. You can get lost there, I know that. Sit in silent reflection should you wish, look at the graves of Tex and Buster and all the rest of the piled lives of north London. A man whose death sparked a riot is buried here. There are old graves, and ones too-fresh and white.
In that cemetery I have watched the trickle of a dying tributary that goes on its way under Broadwater Farm and onto the Lea; I have wiped tears from another’s face as she stared at the old but-not-forgotten memorial to a five year old; I have photographed a red fox sleeping brazenly in the bright winter light.
In early spring we circled the ornamental pond, on a day that felt like the first day of a possible future, and we watched the bursts of condensed life. Hissing Canada geese (‘Just called geese in Canada,’ I joked) protective of their sherbert-coloured goslings, reptilian coot chicks, a diving little grebe, a red-black-white woodpecker darting among these trees in Tottenham. Look, and the life is still there. It’s there in the dripping table mushrooms that jut from bark, and it’s there in the memories of life all around us and in the hum of the traffic nearby but invisible.
On that day by the ornamental pond, no shadows fell.