I've been away for two weeks and I realise that I'm not yet aware of being *here*. I've been walking semi-consciously and thinking ill of the new management of the heath that is enclosing some parts of it and removing the wildness from others... I sit down to desist from those thoughts and to re-orient my attention...
A solitary water bird dives and causes ripples as it breaks the almost still surface of the water. Two geese swim across this pond - where I've not seen geese before. I can hear several birds singing from south, west and east and I suppose they are migrants who've returned in the last two weeks when I've been away? I don't remember hearing such bird songs before I went.
Looking now at a grassy slope worn short by human feet, I see it as evidence of intimate contact between the heath and the many people who walk here and who like it so much. These are the use marks of love and recreation.
A burly man in blue and white football clothing walks by and then runs up the slope. Another man in red and blue runs along the path on the other side of the pond.
The two geese have come out of the water and are now patrolling the worn grass. Two blackbirds join them and one goose chases them but they do not fly away - the blackbirds and geese are now keeping to different parts of the ground by the pond and are keeping outside the invisible boundaries of each other's (temporary?) territories... If animals can police and respect each others' territories why can't people?... But in most cases we do - is it that territorial wars arise only when professionals do the policing for us? I smile.
This evening is cool and sunny, just before sunset. The birch tree above me is alive up to its first main branch and it is dead thereafter.
I hear the sound of people playing church bells and the sirens of police or other vehicles responding to emergencies while the rest of us rest, or continue daily living. The city is alive and so is nature and they are largely in accord. I have to blow vigourously to remove a tiny insect (of less than one millimetre) from the screen of the handheld on which I am writing. All this will be known to anyone who reads it in any country tomorrow, or to any future people who come across these words. Let the world meet the world!
The two geese are now moving slowly and unpredictably as if performing a duet. I unintentionally squash a tiny insect as I try to brush it off my hand. And a rabbit that I forgot to mention is eating grass about 30 metres away...
...War and peace among the animals and people. The war is not totally disastrous and the peace is not complete or perfect... This is life.
A man climbing a large beech tree like ladder - he seems to be stepping and leaping with his whole body accepting any branch he can reach as hand-hold or foot-hold until he stands at the very top on what look to me like inadequately strong branches (perhaps 2 to 5 centimeters thick?). How does he become so strong and agile, far beyond that of most people?
There are several people in the tree and they are talking loudly together. They have to because they are quite a distance apart. In their way they are broadcasting!
A police car is blocking the road. A tall police officer is redirecting traffic. He tells me that there has been an accidents further along. Was his one of the wailing sirens?
I've just missed the train - there's twenty minutes to wait. It's cold and windy and getting dark on the platform. Four noisy teenagers arrive - they shout and run about as if the other people there did not exist. Is that a necessary fiction in teenage - in this culture at least?
A young man is reading what looks like a novel. His neck looks stiffly bent in an uncomfortable posture but I guess he's unconscious of it. While reading one can be unconscious of almost anything.
I see that lights have been installed all down the tunnel to the next station and that they are on all the time.
One of the boys has taken a shoe off and is cleaning it.
I can barely tell what the boys are saying in a London dialect that I don't know - or is it that I am unfamiliar with what they are talking about?
Another boy holds his arms inside his sweater (because of the cold?) while his empty sleeves are dangling.
Another young man is reading A Passage to India. It's hard for me to accept that a very few books such as this one are read by many and that all the other books (including my own) are read by so few. Is it an accident that some books 'catch on' and most don't? I suspect it's not an accident but that the writers of popular books share the same interests as do many readers. My first book (Design Methods) was popular with design teachers. I think many people found it timely. But my other books seem not to catch the interest of many others. I wonder if this diary would attract readers if printed and published as a book? It was not meant to be printed.
digital diary archive© 2003 john chris jones
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