online: 29 july 2004
modified: 29 july 2004

5 july 2004 directed by chance

19:28 A free-standing oak tree in the middle of a field. How does it stop growing at a size that is not ... too big for the strength of its trunk and branches?... Is it that the DNA, being an internal model of the tree, transmits to future trees the size of those that are least often blown down, or otherwise fail in one way or another... Or is it some more immediate process?.

As I write this I realise that I learnt biology before DNA was known and I don't know enough to answer this question*.

Highgate Pond 3. A beautiful evening of sunlight and shadow. I'm sitting by the water. This part of the heath is more a park than a forest - there are isolated trees growing in mowed grass on which people are sitting in small groups and picnics. Their voices carry across the water.

I came here this evening by following the second hand of my watch at each junction of pathways (I usually decide to walk in the wilder parts). So now I am among things I didn't choose to visit. Perhaps soon I will discover something that, without a chance process, I'd not have encountered.

Now I am standing by a patch of creeping thistle, about 100 by 50 metres. There is a notice board in which it is described as an invasive species. They are going to mow certain fields to prevent it becoming dominant - as it has in this patch where most of the grass has already gone. (See entry on 14 may 2004 about a patch of thistle and a footnote on 1 july 2004 on invasive species)... Is this what the chance process is teaching me this evening? Or did I know it already?

(these pages are designed to be read with the window set to two-thirds of the screen width)

what's new


digital diary archive

daffodil email newsletter

© 2002, 2003, 2004 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