14 May 2001
16.05 Thoughts and sights noted on paper as I walked. Edited and expanded while typing.
I heard on the radio that in hundreds of years the melting of ice could raise the sea level by hundreds of feet (say up to one hundred metres) - which reminds me of the three-copy edition of after Giraldusone copy of which I intend to give to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
The library, which is on a hill overlooking the town, could be the highest copyright library in Britain so it may well escape flooding. This distant possibility motivates me to send the book now. Yes, do it!
As I walked by the first pond I passed two people packing cameras into a case. Further on I passed three women changing out of exotic-looking clothes. I guessed that all five had been making pictures for a fashion magazine. But they were apart, the photographers and the models - in two worlds it seemed to me - with the rest of us comprising a third one - and all three worlds kept separate - by professionalism... Not good.
A wooden fence round a nature reserve has been raised to go over the trunk of a huge tree which must have fallen years before. It's the policy here to leave fallen trees as habitats for small plants and creatures. But this sight looks to me more like bureaucratic nervousness than accord with nature. It reminds me of political frontiers and all such signs of fear and rigidity. Are we losing the freedom to act with discretion or common sense?
A woman in black circles her arms in turn as she walks alone beneath the trees. She stops when she sees me. What a pity! ...What a pity we limit such actions in the presence of others.
Hundreds of bluebells probably planted, not growing naturally, on a piece of recently cleared undergrowth. Do I like them or do I not? No ... the hand of the gardener puts me off. Or rather the mind.
A human wreck (he looks as if he's been drinking, and sleeping outdoors, for many years) sits smoking a cigarette. But what intelligence he may possess, what memories, what a life? We are poorer for not knowing each other's stories.
The city now doth like a garment wear* this mist, so thin yet so dense, hiding the expanse of London and making each spot into the centre of a smaller world.
*I can't resist typing in some of this poem 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth, Sept. 2. 1802.
Earth has not any thing to shew more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, tower, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air...
A man carrying a lily in a pot - it shows above the wrapping - and he walks as if to keep it upright is his only purpose.
After passing two genial-looking smokers, a man and a woman, I walk through the smell of tobacco smoke that trails up to twenty metres behind them. But I like them!