online: 3 september 2002

3 september 2002 imaginings and observations

18:38 At the station.

On the way here I felt doubtful of everything - imagining not even returning after this walk (though I know I'd never run away without a plan and some resources)...

I walked about two kilometres and I'm now resting near a path that attracts runners. Rabbits and birds also, but I don't see any now. The air is cool and it is already dusk. Here comes a cyclist (with a fashionable-looking safety helmet) pedalling fast to climb a grassy incline. I am content to be alone.

But now come two crows - perhaps this seat is one at which they are accustomed to be fed? They approach to about the distance I could throw a crust, if I had one. And now the nearest one caws (perhaps aggressively?) at the other. Then they both turn away. Perhaps the cawing meant 'no food from this one'?

The summer is over. The crows have gone and tree branches move as the wind speed increases. This is science, is it not, for I am trying to write impersonally (even as mosquitos try to land on my brow and neck and fingers). But no, it isn't science, I'm too aware of conscious choice in what I notice and in how I choose the words. For instance, instead of 'fingers' I could have written 'hand' but the rhythm would be worse.

The sky is a paler blue than I recall seeing previously. The swifts and swallows seem to have gone - but not the mosquitos. I think there are more this year than there used to be.

It's time I set off back if I am to cross the heath before darkness.

Half way back I stop again to note a thought - I was thinking as I walked that if this is not science then is it poetry?

...And now I wait to experience the last moments of the day - below a completely clear sky and to the faint sounds of an owl and of people talking and whistling in the distance. The field before me , recently mown, is getting to look still and mysterious as the light recedes and the wind stops. In this light and in this near silence I would not be surprised to see anything - even the elephant I once saw at midnight in a car park, in Florida. But here a fox would be more likely - unless I let my imaginings mix with my observations?

I stopped again to stand on a tiny beach by a pond. As soon as I became still, bats began flying within a metre or two of my head, and of the water. They fly so quickly and turn so sharply - I think about twice or thrice a second.

On my return journey the train stopped on a sharp curve - apparently to allow a long Eurotunnel train to pass us slowly - with its wheel flanges screeching against the rails.

After the walk I'm feeling much happier - as usual.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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