online: 25 may 2003

24 may 2003 change in all its forms

Saturday morning. I saw about six parakeets squawking and chasing each other among the plane trees by pond 1. These immigrants look and sound livelier than most native birds but they seem to be at home here.

I pause to sit on a shady seat to digest a hurried breakfast. .. As I look round I see a white butterfly, a dragon fly and a bumblebee... Still air, sun, and small clouds. A clock strikes the half hour and I wave to a high flying plane going towards the Atlantic - in it may be someone I know...

...and now the earth and sun have moved and the shade's gone from this seat, and my stomach feels emptier, so I decide to move on.

Noon, on a seat inscribed simply 'beloved Kit Collard'. Nearby is an almost dead tree marked with a white X - and on the ground is its sawn-off top half, just a straight trunk without branches... The keepers leave fallen trees to lie now to encourage fungi and insects that live on dead wood. And now I can hear a bird gently tapping a hole in a living tree trunk - all life is food or shelter for other life, there is no natural law against killing and eating other organisms... Will we have to re-acquire or re-think this 'brutality' if we are to evolve beyond hierarchy and 'humane law' (that keeps us more tame than we are) to anarkia and environmental care and self-organisation?

But despite and beyond these grey thoughts I am happy to be here amongst the trees and the birds and the well-behaved people... I hardly notice the rules and the fences .

I watch a man and woman go by with two babies. The man carries one baby on a back-pack seat and the woman carries the other in a seat slung in front of her.

A large man runs past slowly and easily - unlike most runners I see here he seems to have found a comfortable pace and rhythm for his body type - and he looks as if he is enjoying it. (I used to run long distances and remember the self-inflicted pains of competitive running).

Now a robin perches on the dead tree. It has something in its mouth - is it food for young robins?

Yes this spot among tall oaks and beeches resembles the inside of a cathedral - but it's livelier - if you have the time to watch the little changes that amount to continuous evolution (something that does not happen, as yet, in things artificial).

At the bridge in Kenwood (the real one*) I stop to watch two coots with two baby coots swimming on the muddy water. The parents keep diving for food which they give to the babies - who can already swim strongly with their large paddle feet but cannot dive yet. Sometimes both parents are invisible beneath the surface simultaneously - and sometimes both babies rush for one parent's beak to get to the food before the other one.

12:50 I realise, as I walk, that all I write today is on the theme of (and the rethinking of) changein all its forms, natural or historic, gradual or revolutionary... and the morality of conservatism and laissez faire, of progressive design, of pure chance, of force, of control and of anarkia... and that these thoughts come to me today from my current reading of the writings of J W von Goethe (and of Faust Part 2 in particular).

*There is also a false bridge, consisting only of a facade of eighteenth century stonework but it is made of timber - its purpose is to enhance and complete the view of the lake from Kenwood House.

what's new


digital diary archive

© 2003 john chris jones

You may transmit this text to anyone for any non-commercial purpose if you include the copyright line and this notice and if you respect the copyright of quotations.

If you wish to reproduce any of this text commercially please send a copyright permission request to jcj at