online: 12 january 2006
modified: 11 january 2006

11 january 2006 a kind of perfection

15:42: Sandy Heath. Sunny afternoon - no signs yet of the ending of winter. No buds, no snowdrops, the trees are still and leafless. Occasional walkers with dogs, a man running, a solitary crow walking on the fallen leaves. Sunlight reflected from the surface of pools to the west of where i am sitting.

Beyond the pools a large house (a much magnified cottage, circa 1905 with large eaves and wide windows) marks the edge of an expensive inner suburb... It was built, i suppose, at the summit of British prosperity and before the lights* of European confidence were extinguished by the horrors of the 1914-18 war. The house seems to me to embody humanity and wealth, and a partial overcoming of the cruelties of the industrial revolution, so it seemed.

Now i've crossed into the southern heath and i'm sitting on a seat overlooking the hockey field that is still played on by 'Professor Joad*'s party' - though he died in 1953...

The moon (three-quarters full) is high above (at about 30 degrees elevation but it looks like 50 or 60). The evening sky is pale blue and as i look up i see a bird and two aeroplanes and a small wisp of grey cloud. One of the planes is flying very high and shines in the sunlight as it appears to be crossing the moon... the other plane looks grey as it approaches the earth with its dark side towards me.

Dusk at Parliament Hill. How happy i feel to return to this spot to which i've walked so often in the last 15 years or so.... and to see again the city lights spread out over the Thames Valley and today visible through the leafless trees.

As i approached, a large traction kite, capable of lifting a person, was flying in almost no wind. It takes only a 2 mile per hour wind (3 kilometres per hour) to keep it up says its owner...

Yes, to me this place is perfection, and i decide to come here 3 or 4 times a week, as i used to when living on this side of the Heath... if i can do it.

*... From the window of his office in 1914, Lord Grey of Falloden, the Foreign Secretary of the day, is said to have observed: "The lights are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

** C E M Joad, 1891 to 1953 - a philosopher and broadcasting personality. See Wikipedia.

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