27 March 2002 among trees and imperfections

14:34 I've been sitting for half an hour on a fallen tree trunk, bare of bark and with tiny worm holes... It was some time before I noticed a new tree sprouting up before me with tiny leaves bursting out slowly from its thin branches - (which are about a millimetre in diameter - its trunk is about four millimetres). I was watching the first bumble bee I've seen this year visiting some nettles that I imagine have themselves emerged from the muddy ground in the last few days...

While I was writing that a delicate black insect with an orange head and hair-thin legs perched on my sleeve. Now it's gone. I can hear a small bird (is it a wren?) chirping softly nearby as I look round in the near silence at the still leaves and thin branches of the (lime?) trees that grow here - together with elders (which have been in leaf for several weeks). Many trees have fallen.

The surrounding city seems far away and I feel less and less part of it - and more and more part of this woodland, these notes, and the collective presence which creates and inhabits all we think and do... And in writing that thought I recognise a theme, or meta-theme, that recurs in and spontaneously directs these writings.

Some minutes ago a man walked by. He removed earphones when he saw me speak - about the stillness and beauty of this spot. Apologetically he said he was taking a short cut and had not noticed it... I realise that it's extremely difficult to be aware of each place as an end in itself, even when walking in a forest, without aim (other than that of taking exercise, perhaps).

As I was writing that a squirrel passed by, assiduously seeking food and nothing else, so it seemed.

I look again at the tiny tree and I wonder how much its new leaves have grown while I was writing that? 6 screenfulls x 10 lines x 8 words per line = 480 words at 5 per minute = 96 minutes, say an hour and a half. I guess the leaves could have grown a millimetre in that time - driven by the warmth of the sun, by the rains and the sap, and in all by the whole creation, 'by everything'!

On the way here I walked with Sarah and Jennifer and learnt that Louise* and her friend were pulled out of her car by two car-jackers who stole it. She is not injured but is, I imagine, suffering from some degree of shock. A new crime, apparently, now becoming popular in London. I can only think that something is going wrong in our culture for people to be drawn to invent new and more violent ways of getting possession of things they cannot get legally. Would this crime cease if all cars were available to all - as in my so-long-ignored vision of traffic automation? Not by that alone but perhaps if it were accompanied by all the other visions described in e.g. Utopia and Numeroso in the experimental city**. Isn't it time I attempted to resay and to re-present that, my lifelong vision of things as they might be?

I can hear what could be a woodpecker... I'll walk on and see if these thoughts persist and develop...

No they didn't. I was distracted into estimating the time (I have no watch today) and by the actions of an aggressive drunken man who was insulting and bothering people as we waited for the train. The world is not perfect - but something is.

At home, editing these notes, I am still thinking of somehow connecting them to the rest of my writings and of making a vivid picture of the world as it might be, or could be, but with due space for imperfections as well as for ideals, and all of nature... Is it still possible for me to do that - perhaps in the manner of all these chivalric and other fictions of the pre-modern that attract me more and more, as well as of the very new and the still timely? Yes, yes - just do it!... but then I remember my limited energy and also the poetic sufficiency of just this, these walks and these notes and the whole universe of causes, or of deafnesses, that is writing them, day by day.

* Sarah and Louise are two of my daughters and Jennifer is one of Sarah's daughters.

** in the internet and everyone, ellipsis London 2000, isbn 1-899858-20-2, pages 349 to 357. I hoped that this book would make those ideas public but they're still unknown to most people.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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