online: 3 june 2003

28 may 2003 a summer's day in May

12:58 At pond 1.

Six new baby swans have arrived - on this first really summery day.

The grassy bank is full of people sunbathing - there's barely space to walk between them.

The funfair ended two days ago - all that's left is a couple of trailers of waste bags. Its complete disappearance is as amazing as was the sight and sound of it.

On pond 2 I can see the four goslings again - they've been out of sight for several days. But I can't see the four ducklings.

13:13 I stop to rest and to write this at 'Aussie' Jen's seat. It's too warm to walk quickly today.

I'm surrounded by tall nettles - some are over a metre high. A few weeks ago this was bare ground. They're growing so fast and so straight and their stalks are nearly all parallel. Their leaves are nearly all horizontal and they look a much lighter green than the stalks because they catch most of the sunlight. They are shaped by sunlight and gravity - and by whatever leaf forms and stalk forms are implied by their microstructure. The precision of all this is amazing.

Looking more closely I see that there are hundreds of tiny whiteish hairs on each stalk and sub-stalk, and also on the ribs beneath each leaf. Is that what stings I wonder? I touch a stalk and the underside of a leaf with my finger but no sting. I try again with the back of my hand but no sting there either. Perhaps they don't sting until later in the year?

The whole scene is composed of green leaves, and reddish leaves and the smooth grey bark of a copper beech. Beyond that the blue sky with a few whiteish clouds. The ground still looks hardened and closed up by winter. And behind me in the woodland are many fallen branches, and a few fallen trees. A summer's day, in May. And from above the clouds comes the deep roar of a jumbojet climbing - and now it's gone, with its wings full of fuel and with, I suppose, another few hundred people crossing frontiers without hindrance (except at the airports where our fear and distrust take over). I think it's good that so many of us can now visit and inhabit more of the world and that a fraction of the population is always above the earth, day and night.

And now what a wonder! A caterpiller about one centimetre long and about two millimetres thick is twisting and dancing suspended in space - I suppose from a thread I cannot see in this light. The branch from which it hangs is 2 or 3 metres above... And now I see a spider, only about 1.5 millimetres diameter, hanging nearby. It looks impossible (that such small creatures can extrude such long threads).

14:35 I begin to walk on and turn to see again the inscription
"Aussie" Jen - summer '80
I like the brevity of it - as I like the unspoken beauty and complexity of all these things...

Passing beneath the cathedral-like trees where I sat a few days ago I see a robin on the same felled tree trunk - I suppose it's the same robin and that this is it's territory.

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© 2003 john chris jones

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