online: 15 may 2003

6 may 2003 as heavenly a place

16:45 Just missed the train. In no hurry - I am happy to wait, glad that I was able to sleep this afternoon and remembering things I did this morning (various difficulties now dealt with, I hope)...

Turning my mind now to the moment I notice a new crop of graffiti on walls visible from the station but out of sight of the security cameras (or have the cameras ceased to be activated?)

This conflict between art and order - and the similarities between cave art and lavatory art and graffiti - are surely significant... Were the Welsh itinerant poets (or wandering minstrels) as resented as are graffitists, immigrants, asylum seekers, and terrorists/freedom-fighters? Are all these things wrong in some way, along with those of us who control, pay for, and benefit from the military, the police, the law, and all other regulators, including accountants, lawyers, health workers, yes even those?... I guess yes, and teachers too (despite good motives) the whole range of paid jobs within specialised and delegated responsibilities, all narrower than any person's perceptions and potentials... and all wrong (in my perception)!

...But to proceed with this thought it is necessary, I think, to disengage from attacking and turn to something more constructive, informative, and beneficial to every one of us 'as people'. That is my task and I hope an enjoyment - but as yet I don't seem to succeed though all my life I've been trying.

Sights noted while walking:

Pond 1: About fifty pigeons perched in a willow and twenty or so on the ground, all of them waiting to be fed by humans, I think.

A solitary swan, on the other side of the water, patrolling near to the nest of its mate.

A woman looks around as she closes a worn-looking notebook in which she was writing... (So I am not the only one.)

Another woman is standing on one leg, Her other leg is horizontal, supported by a railing. This looks like strenuous static exercise. She looks at me as she walks away and I wonder if she guesses that I am writing about her?

May is out. Five bushy trees all in white blossom.

'Bushy tree on hill, five o'clock from hilltop, number one gun ranging, fire!' (remembered from my time in the artillery. Apologies - but it is all part of life is it not?)

They're gradually grooming or landscaping this heath so that it looks more and more like a park and less and less like a wild forest. 'Doing nothing' is it seems an impossible action to the people responsible for keeping this heath as it is. We must all learn to listen to Lao Tsu*:

By acting without action, all things will be in order.
if the world is to be saved. Some think it's already too late.

A chestnut tree is in full bloom. Many flowers. And nobody instructed it to blossom (though it may have been planted.)

Doing as little as possible is now, it seems, my occupation!

At which I decide to stop walking and to sit in this beautiful spot...

17:29 I sit down and decide not to rush on in order to reach the cafe before it closes. I prefer to sit here to continue writing these thoughts on the handheld - and to enjoy the sounds and sights at this seat beneath an overhanging oak. The seat is in memory of a mother and sister. The mother was born in 1897 and the sister in 1927 (the same year as I was). The mother lived 96 years and the sister 67. They died in 1993 and 1994 respectively...

...but I didn't sit here to write only about these two people - I was attracted by the scene and its sounds and the sun and the grey and white clouds and the summery growth everywhere... And the sense of peace without and within. Though I can hear the sirens of emergency vehicles and now there is the always odd sight and sound of someone talking to a dog as if it can understand speech. And now a small girl chanting 'mum-mum-mum-y' goes by in a buggy pushed by a man... Whois understanding whom?

In the distance I see a church spire pointing upward above the trees. Pointing to a separated heaven I suppose - but I prefer to think that this is as heavenly a place or life as can be found - in the cosmos or universe - or beyond or before it - if these abstract ideas have any reality, which I doubt - except that they are real thoughts!)

18:00 I think I've sat here long enough - but then I hear a small bird singing sweetly quite close to me, somewhere in the tree above, and I stay to listen. Perhaps it would be improper to leave before it stops singing though I am sure it's not addressing any human listener. I like to think that it has no conscious purpose!

I wait until it stops, though a large grey cloud is casting its shadow here and I am no longer warmed by the sun. The bird has stopped singing - perhaps it too is now feeling colder? I move on.

I walked up a grassy bank and passed a man asleep on a bench, his head on an improvised pillow of folded clothing. Then I climbed a much steeper bank of bare earth, under large trees.

Much rubbish from a picnic, even a throw-away barbecue heater and many plastic skewers, bottles, [something illegible], and a plastic bag of rubbish - all abandoned at the foot of an oak tree. What a nasty shock in this beauty, what a shameful picture of ourselves and of our still dreadful industries and their short-term goal: money. But perhaps they enjoyed the picnic as much as I am enjoying this walk?

18:20 I pick a dandelion clock** and blow with no purpose but to watch the seeds paragliding away into the grass. I blow eight times but I can't dislodge the last two or three seeds... I wish I hadn't blown it but just looked at the perfect spherical shape of the seed clock and walked on. Nearby I see a large blackbird singing in a dead tree.

One the way back: everything is growing so beautifully, without effort, without hindrance... This must be one of the best times in the world (and again the words shrink into abstract meaninglessness).

A bank of light blue flowers (wild but possibly planted). I cut one in order to find out its name later***.

At pond 1 again: Only 6 of the pigeons are in the willow now - others are on the ground, warbling and cooing.

*The Way of Lao Tsu, Translated by Wing-tsit Chan, The Bobbs-Merril Company, Inc. Indianapolis and New York 1963, page 103. This book was given to me in the early 1970s by Bob Underwood (organiser of the alternative futures group FIVE) - it was my introduction to Eastern thought.

**I cannot resist quoting part of the description of the dandelion from Roger Phillips' Wild Flowers of Britain, Macmillan/Pan Books, London 1977:

...very common throughout Britain, in waysides, fields and as a weed of lawns. The flowers only open in full sun. The leaves are delicious cooked, or eaten in a salad. The roots may be dried, roasted, and then ground to make coffee. Medicinally it is used to clear up urinary problems.
When I was a child I heard it called piss-a-bed.)

***But even with the help of Roger Phillips' so intelligent book I could not identify the tiny blue flower - now preserved between the pages of a book but I can't remember which one!

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