online: 11 october 2005 2005
modified: 11 october 2005

10 october 2005 from unknown to known

16:38 Highest seat, overlooking Vale of Health beyond which i can see the city towers half-hidden in mist, or is it smog?

Thirty minutes walk ... through the unfamiliar and ungardened forest of the northern heath to this familiar landscape of the southern. This is surely the first of many such walks from a new direction... i hope that its newness to me, combined with its familiarity, will lead to new perceptions of both... the unknown and the known.

17:18 Tumulus. Today i'm visiting familiar spots in the familiar evening light from the west, the beginnings, as this sunny day begins to end, of what used to be called the celtic twilight... but this evening it is not a cold or misty light but a warm and yellow light, reflected from west-facing surfaces of spires, towers, trees, and houses... This light, and the familiar presence of a pair of crows walking near the tumulus, and the presence of ever-different people (of more various kinds than in the north-western heath) - all these sights i've slowly learnt to recognise during hundreds of walks here in the south-eastern heath since 1989 and i'm thankful for the people* who accidentally led me to be living here, and walking here, today and then.

18:33 Back at the seat overlooking the Vale of Health ... after walking to Hampstead Heath Station... The train was cancelled so i walked halfway back .. having bought something to eat while sitting by the ponds...

and now the city is disappearing into mist and darkness ... as i take a last look at the rooftops of the houses in the Vale .

*particularly Heini Schneebeli, and the library of the Goethe Library where he posted a notice advertising 'studio to let' (in 1989) which led me to live in his photographic studio for a year or so and then in a flat he'd vacated where i lived for about 14 years... how i like such accidents that so greatly and unexpectedly influence and shape our lives... I doubt if this diary would have been written had i not been led to live in these places, close to the heath.

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