A small village nestled in northern Britain, unknown by even those who live nearby, yet unforgettable to those that reside within, and hardly for any good reason. Trees border the edges of muddy, disconcertingly empty farmland. Hay bales lie in unremarkable desolation; the winter scars the ground, Summer brings it into decay. To the naked or more apt disinterested eye, the village might seem quaint; pleasant people and sights that seem straight out of an idealised middle-class look book. It fits every cliché English stereotype. For a person living in the village however, within the only and overpriced supermarket, or the empty, teetering on abandoned ‘accountants’ building that eschews any sign of life, the village becomes a suffocating locale to exist in. The muddy, potato-strewn roads ravaged by pot holes become unwanted sights after only a few months, let alone a few years.
From the inside looking outwards the village becomes the place where middle-class people, both middle-aged and old come to die. Many of these middle-aged couples birthing their children into the same unintentionally nihilistic ideology, creating a generational pessimism that stalks every living soul in the village. Even the old church that stands proud and ungentrified offers no absolution to the hopeless children coming of age, defined by the misfortunate sins of the parents. No matter how much the church bell rings by the hour, the children cannot escape the cycle they’re trapped in; doomed to be stuck in the throes of parenthood, no matter how much they believe otherwise.
The village is calculating and machine-like, forcing everyone to internalise the terrors of what life has handed them. They hide their discontentment, eaten away by the guilt that they are guilty.
All villages spare no one, this village is no exception- that’s why people end up here. Accepting their dreams are not their reality. No, instead that their reality is everyone’s. Painfully so because everyone, hoped otherwise. Only able to face the irony, suffocating slowly, internally hurting. Closed in by the trees; gaunt, withering, imprisoning trees.
Photograph by me, titled: Abyss.
2 thoughts on “A brief inquiry into a village in Northern Britain”
Oh this… yes… even an ocean apart I taste some of the same flavors in the small town I grew up in. Beautifully written.
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I understand that completely, there is an air of similarity to most small towns, in many cases regardless of the distance.
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