online: 31 august 2007
much modified: 31 august 2007

31 august 2007 geographic continuity, and difference

19:58 at the tumulus and it's already getting dark...

...few people left on the heath now (and the ones i see all seem to be walking home)... i watch city lights switch on... to my unfocussed eyesight they seem to twinkle like stars...the hayfield before me is worn out by many feet and bodies... the picnic that is to be to be here in a week or two... do i think of it as its designer (with the experience half-imagined) or as a picnicker (not knowing what to expect)... i hope the latter, experiencing surprise... as John Cage said he does when first hearing music that he has composed (but has not imagined as sounds before its first performance)!

...i walk on towards Parliament Hill and see it as a grassy horizon against the sky that is already pink with the reflected light of London... as i reach the summit the city lights comes into view... i join perhaps twenty people sitting or standing to look at this never-ending wonder of seeing a large city from above, spreading to the horizon... i've describe it many times, and looked at it many more, but always it seems different... and it is, in this quickly-changing maritime weather... of this island close to the European peninsula on the northwest edge of the Asian continent... quite a mouthful... but i do like writing and pronouncing this description* of geographic continuity... and difference...

*this way of describing Europe as a peninsula on the edge of the Asian continent is that of Norman Davies in his book Europe, a history, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1996, reprinted by Pimlico, Random House, London 1997. Some of his maps, with the West at the top, give welcome shock to our habit of portraying Europe as if it were separate from Asia, as a landmass on its own.

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