online: 2001
modified: 28 march 02, 29 march 02

10 july 2002 eating to live

20:08 Picnic on heath. List of creatures seen while I ate and drank:

A large and slow-moving mosquito.

Two crows who stood watching me at about 7 metres and hopped as close as 5 or even 4 when I threw crusts.

A magpie whom the crows immediately chased away.

One woodpecker (or was it a yellow hammer? ...I'm guessing.)

A few humans, male, mostly riding bicycles - one half-naked with huge muscles, some in odd places.

One rabbit.

A few ants.

And me, writing this, after listening to Heather Paton interviewing obsessive list makers on the BBC World Service. One has a website with lists of every object in his house (except for those in his girlfriend's room and closet).

A white insect about one millimetre long that I instinctively brushed off my trousers before I could stop myself. Sorry to think that we are instinctive killers of other creatures if they are small enough. My picnic included several fish (silds, resembling sardines) and an apple - the logic of non-violence is illogical. B K S Iyengar, in his book (The Concise Light on Yoga, George Allen and Unwin, London 1987, page 19) states that

bloodthirsty tyrants can be vegetarians
- and most of us enjoy getting our teeth into a juicy apple (while it is still alive).

These creatures are now gone, except for the mosquitos that I can feel on my skin and can see hovering near my hands as I write on the handheld. I try to blow them away.

Now there are five rabbits - and one of the crows has returned.

I've been distracted all day by bad news but while here I have been thinking only of these creatures.

Now to walk across the heath to look across London from Parliament Hill in the fading sunlight.

When I got there I was surprised to see how far north is the sunset this time of year (just behind the Fire Service radio mast - about North North-West I imagine.)

A man with binoculars spoke to me. He was looking at swifts flying low in the late evening. He told me that they migrate north in the summer from the tropics where the nights are too long for their young to survive. The adult birds catch insects for their young all day long but they can't catch insects in the dark. The night here is only about five hours but is perhaps twelve in the tropics.

I asked him what the insects ate in the air. He didn't know but guessed it might be pollen, and such particles.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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