online: 16 may 2004

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16 may 2004 to organise

18:00 In a bus. I see a man sitting on the pavement drawing something. He looks upward, across the road, draws a line across the paper, looks up again, draws another line... and so on... I think he's drawing the railway bridge. I like the complexity, the interactiveness, and the sensitivity that are involved in what he is doing. Freehand drawing, one of the sublime simplicities of human skill. As in talking, walking, and most of what we do - but in drawing what's happening is more visible and, to those who can't draw, it can seem magical.

Off the bus and in a few steps I'm in the park. Immediately six pigeons fly upward from close to my feet and for a moment they surround me with fluttering wings and feathered bodies before flying off to somewhere else. What an experience - yet often I would not pay attention to such a thing.

A few more paces and I am watching 4 young men and a woman trying to retrieve a shoe that is hanging from a tree about 6 metres up. They have a metal pole but it is not long enough. Several of them hold up one man on their shoulders but it just won't reach. Then the woman gets an idea of what's needed and organises the men into a pyramid with one man and pole on top. It still won't reach. I go searching for something with which to lengthen the pole and find a cardboard tube. But when I get back the pole has gone - the person it belongs to has gone away. I speak with the woman - she tells me they threw the shoe to try to dislodge a plastic quoit or throwing ring that is also stuck in the tree. Yes, she agreed, what they did was quite creative. They may try again tomorrow.

That is just how I think organisations should be - temporary collective actions to suit the moment. To organise, as everyone can, as leader or doer, until the action is done and then to disband until the next need to 'organise'.

Sunday afternoon in the park. The city is alive here in all of us. It's a verb not a noun: to organise, to 'city' perhaps. People, swans, pigeons, ponds and trees and blades of grass - we can all briefly live here in a rough harmony midst shouts and laughs and civilised concurrence, ease, and order of a kind, without being put into fixed roles or divided by fixed differences. Leader or led, important or not, people or things .

I've just eaten a sandwich and drunk water as I sit by a pond. A little picnic. The park grows quiet as grown-ups and dogs and children begin to leave as the sun moves down and the air grows cooler.

As soon as I began walking I saw a girl aged about 6 ordering two boys, older than her, with scooters, to 'ready... steady... go!' And they unquestioningly obey her.

Sitting by the prehistoric tumulus. The summer smog seems to have risen over east London - there is a strip of pale blue sky beneath it - and a cool fresh wind from the east - which means continued warm weather and, I fear, more smog.

Pond 1. I walked back through woodland. Big chestnut leaves at eye level, 'hello' to two people I know, and now the last light of the sun is reflected into my face from a house window across the water. There are many windows.

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