online: 2 may 2006
modified: 1, 2, 3 may 2006

1 may 2006 cityforest retreat

16:39: today i go to the cityforest to rediscover the new! (remembering an oracle*, rune 24: 'retreat in strength ... for centring, for balance')

18:37 ...a cold north wind - the last breath of winter - and everywhere the first leaves of summer, especially the chestnut trees which are already in almost full leaf... Close to my face is a bramble branch bearing the curled and decaying leaves of last year and some of the perfectly-forming leaves of this...

...a woman approaches to within 10 metres of where i am sitting to ask rather publicly if i have a cigarette paper... i don't.

(...this reminds me that, today, i am looking in this cityforest for signs of global organisations that i intend to re-examine in this semi-wilderness, away from their sources, and to reimagine them in forms we could call natural, or post-natural, or just new... )

so now the first organisation to reach me at this stopping place is the cigarette industry, via one of its addicted victims, a woman needing a cigarette...

...for the moment i desist from condemnation of both cigarette industry and smokers - i don't want this text to turn into a utopian judgement of all of us in our mistaken or pathetic roles as producers or consumers, but as yet i have no image of how otherwise the reality of afternature might be... all i can do as yet is to ask what kind of systemic change could enable those who work in the industry (together with those who invest in it and those who are addicted to its products or suffer from them) to transform the whole enterprise into something else, not deadly but life-giving?

(before attempting an answer i turn to a chance-selected page 104 of the 157 pages of my handwritten journal (vol 95, that i brought with me for some such purpose as this) on which are references to:

design methods in 250 words,
the literature on design methods
3-day book (Chris Crickmay's unpublished interview with me in the early 1970s)
a shorter interview of that time...

i decide that these chance-selected items can be the ingredients or the beginnings of whatever change i am hoping to induce or to discover (through this consciously-accidental search for what can be rescued or revived from my not yet successful projects and life)!

sitting by pond 2, perhaps an answer! :

as i walked along a path i met 3 people walking side by side with no room for me to pass... Curious to see what would happen, i moved from the middle to one side of the path... when i got close the man on my side stepped in front of the second who took one or two slower steps so as to create space for the first man... This semi-automatic movement took less than a second and it did not disturb the conversation of the 3 people, yet it perfectly resolved a brief territorial conflict that, in some other circumstances, could result in a social impasse or even a fight - yet it was so easily and barely consciously performed!...

...surely a good precedent for any of the global conflicts that are to be tackled in this writing (however different they may seem at first thought).

after midnight:
not wanting to go to bed until this process finds its form, i decide to simply accept it as a story, occurring in physical reality, for the encouragement of thoughts that might lead us to forms and places unknown but enjoyable to read, though perhaps difficult to enact!

next day:
noticing that there are many half-hidden assumptions and provisos in that last paragraph, i decide not to put them into words** but to turn this into the story of :

the as yet untitled

* The New Book of Runes, commentary by Ralph Blum, Michael Joseph, UK 1982, Headline Book Publishing edition, UK, 1990, page 135.

** i decide that it is untimely to put all of my thoughts and doubts into a rational statement (or 'frame of reference')... it could easily quell, inhibit, or otherwise expel imagination and hope - the capacity to jump, sufficiently informed but not over-informed, into 'the unknown'...

'...the imaginative jump from present facts to future possibilities...'
(J K Page, 1966, in the opening quotation to Design Methods, page 2.)

(these pages are designed to be read with the window set to two-thirds of the screen width)

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