ice on all three ponds
one third of ponds 1 and 2 is frozen
and all of pond 3
why the difference?
is it that pond 3 is surrounded by trees and thick undergrowth
that retain cold static air
not admitting the warm west wind?
a heron on the floating island
all the seagulls are facing the wind
I find several men erecting a fence near pond 1 and ask why. One tells me that the ground has subsided a few feet and may slip further. There are men inside the fence examining the ground - which seems to have slipped down-hill towards the water. It seems to me to be a small sliding mud cliff - not the collapse of the strata below, as in mining subsidence.
As I walk on I notice grasses, shrubs and trees silhouetted against the snow. Each branch carries a streak of snow that makes its form very visible.
At the viaduct pond I see snow that has fallen on ice in unimaginable patterns that I cannot describe... visual poems without words.
A man sees me writing and stops to ask if I am writing a poem. He tells me he used to walk on Walthamstowe Marsh where he took over a picnic table as his outdoor office... 'You get many ideas there' he said.
I saw a man photographing something close to the ground. He told me it was a spider in the snow and he lifted it up to show me. It had very long legs. I spoke of the low resistance of small creatures to cold and of the scale effect which gives larger creatures a greater ratio of volume to surface area, and hence less heat loss - and how each organism is the right shape for its size. Compare spiders and elephants!...
...As I walked on I felt touched by the sight of that spider surviving in the snow - perhaps in a warm enough micro-climate among leaves and grasses - or perhaps freezing?... And now it has been photographed by someone and has been described by someone else - and I suppose it doesn't know it!
At Parliament Hill (or Kite Hill as some call it) I see a man tobogganing on a piece of cardboard, lying prone as he does so. I like seeing adults enjoying childish things - and I feel tempted to do the same but my pride or my age stops me from doing it - and I feel sorry I didn't.
As I was looking at London in the snow a man and a woman asked me to photograph them against the view of the city. We talked briefly of the unusually clear air - we could see the hills beyond Greenwich.
Back home I enjoyed cooking and eating soup with bread and humous - and then apricots and tahini in goat's yoghurt, with walnuts. And nettle tea. Just writing the names of such foods makes me feel nourished.
'And now I am wearing a normal vest - and resting'I typed this note feeling that it is of more significance than the thoughts about the future of industrial living that I wrote in daffodil 14 (sent out yesterday)... But no - 'all things are equally important'! Utopia and Numeroso and Unesco, and the mythical reader and writer, are waiting for the symposium to continue. I wonder if the spider is still alive?
digital diary archive© 2002 john chris jones
If you wish to reproduce any of this text commercially please send a copyright permission request to jcj at publicwriting.net