online: 31 december 2006
modified: 31 december 2006

31 december 2006 an ancient vegetable

13:23 at the highest point... there is a powerful rainstorm over the city but it's still dry here... a cold wet wind is blowing from the Atlantic...faint sunlight shines through grey clouds moving quickly ... the tall buildings at Canary Wharf are just visible in the distant rain-mist... and i walk on before the rains arrive... i am in a wooded valley out of the wind... after days indoors i am glad to be walking among trees and able to feel part of nature again, no longer in a physical or social box...

...i stand still to look at a fallen tree... a shorn branch is holding the trunk at an angle above the ground like the body of a vast animal sitting on its haunches... i'm in Kenwood forest among many kinds of trees, some dead but still standing... before me is an old tree, about 2m diameter*, hollow and bulky with large growths on its lower trunk ... coming closer, i am astonished by the patterns of old growth and cracking and moss and cobwebs and even a new branch sprouting near the ground bearing 2 or 3 buds... i would have to stay all day to take in and to describe its intricate complexity (and perhaps that would be better than whatever else i might do next?)... i feel much respect for this ancient vegetable that seems to be becoming the soil of its own regeneration - for there are many new branches sprouting and rooting into its half dead trunk... (i remember a man who was measuring old trees telling me how the inner parts of old tree-trunks become soft or even hollow and how the upper branches of such a tree can grow roots into this soft interior that is itself becoming like soil)...

...and what a sculpture!

* 2 metres = about 80 inches diameter = about 240 inches circumference = about 240 years old (each inch of circumference approximately equals one year of life, by rule of thumb told me by the man who was measuring old trees)

... after soup, bread, a cake, and a glass of water at the outdoor cafe... until rain began, when i took to a bus for swift return (to indoor delights now that i'm refreshed by outdoors)... in the bus is a man reading a book on the cover of which is the face of a man closely resembling his own... can he possibly be reading a book about himself?... and perhaps all the books we read are about us...

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