online: 20 may 2004
modified: 20 may 2004

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19 may 2004 anti-gravity

19:25 Pond 1. A cool sunny evening, the ground is in shadow, the walls of the houses across the water are lit by the sun, their reflections in the water shimmer but they still look like houses, a coot makes squeaky sounds on the water - and now four coots fight or dance furiously with rapid wing motions and splashings and loud squeaks. And four pink balloons tied to a willow branch sway gently, I think sadly, in the wind.

Before writing that on the handheld I wrote something on paper. It began illegibly - so I decided to make it legible (by consciously imagining each letter before writing it). This is what I wrote:

First, as always, to recover all the legibility I can and to continue thus! Yes, even so little has immediate effect in that ... I begin to see everything as serene, and perfect, as a creation modified by its own creatings ...this being so profound (though quick) a recovery, I feel able to start writing on the handheld immediately...

I'm amazed how concentrating attention on small muscular actions can so totally change one's perceptions and mood. While writing illegibly I was feeling troubled and unable to do what I wished but now I feel at peace - able to write this diary entry and to pay attention to what is happening on the heath today.

A young Indian face with deep set eyes and a far away look that seems to me to reflect the wisdom of ages - before Europe was invented, or occupied by people. Is this what life is about, the cumulative wisdom of time (perhaps now, for the first time, being connected and related, or ignored)?

At the tumulus, close to my favourite seat, I see what I imagine to be a butterfly or moth hovering beneath an overhanging tree. But looking closely I see it is a fragment of leaf spinning on a strand of gossamer. When I pass my hand above it the leaf hangs in my palm and then I put it in my wallet with a feather that fell from a bird to where I was standing yesterday.

As I leave the heath I am stopped by the sight of hundreds of tall grasses already in seed - and hundreds of sprouting bramble shoots on a vast blackberry bush. The verticality of the grasses seems to exceed that of the skyscrapers in New York... and the fast new growth of the brambles - a world of vividness, and anti-gravity, and pure biological liveliness!*

A church clock strikes 9 - I lose my balance for a moment as I lean backward to watch a plane fly directly overhead - and a bird sings intermittently in the evening stillness. No clouds.

*This thought is surely influenced by the teachings of Walter Carrington (from whom I am learning the Alexander Technique):
It is absolutely necessary to remember that all living things, trees and shrubs, and you and me included, have to have a means of generating the energy that will overcome all the forces that seek to get us down...

from Walter Carrington, 'Generating the energy to go up', in Thinking Aloud, talks on the Alexander Technique, edited by Jerry Sontag, Mornum Time Press, San Francisco, 1994, page 29. ISBN 0-9644352-0-9

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