28 September 2001 between birth death


Cap off beneath oak enjoying warm wind from the east - in sun and shadow - London weather at its best, for me at least. A twig (or was it an acorn?) fell on my head. Two small children intently trying to climb a birch tree while a third talks and talks and waves her arms. A young woman sits on the grass nearby. Judging by what I hear on the radio and read in email discussions (internet politics, and poetics) the world is still angry and baffled and fearful after the attack of 11 September but, looking about me here, I see and hear no signs of it. Jumbos and helicopters fly much as usual, people still walk here and sit in the sun, the three children play hide and seek among the birches, and the oak branches sway in the wind as I note these incidents, each tiny each enormous, to someone, to something, and perhaps to readers of this in any of the 24 or so countries where the web tracker tells me they are. (There are many more countries from which no one visits this website, as yet.)

But perhaps I am wrong to say that nothing here has changed - all the time I was writing that (15 mins?) the helicopter kept circling and hovering above this spot - and now it's gone. A yellow leaf and a twig fell on my lap simultaneously and one of the enormous population of insects (a fly) walks on my sleeve. How long will it live? How long will I? That would be a change - for the fly and for me. Yesterday I read on the net a description of the Islamic heaven and hell - and also the Islamic statement of human rights:


All seemed to me quite imaginary though the human rights resembled those of the West quite closely - but none seem to connect with life as it surrounds me here and everywhere. Normally I like imaginary things - but perhaps only when pervaded by realism as much as by imagination.

And as I wrote that a small branch with yellow leaves still attached fell off in the wind and landed at my feet. If I were to stay here forever the tree itself would eventually fall and perhaps kill me, as I might unintentionally kill an insect. Is that less or more tragic than the deaths of six thousand people in the World Trade Center? All deaths are perhaps of equal significance to the beings concerned - but not to those of us who are left, or bereaved.

As I wrote that a tiny beetle walked on my thumb. To prevent it getting into the handheld I tried to blow it off. It took a lot of blowing. I hope it landed safely on the bare soil - where it is invisible.

I'm getting up now to look at a tiny stream that flows through this little valley of birch trees, and in the spring daffodils.

15 :00 sitting in a beech and oak wood on this seat inscribed 'beloved Kit Collard'. My feet slide about on the acorns which are falling as I write - every five or ten seconds. I'll keep my cap on!

To get here I walked nearly the whole length of the little stream, from birch wood to a lake - in the manner recommended by J W Goethe - he writes somewhere that that is the way to see and understand a landscape - follow the rivers towards the sea, for you are then experiencing the process which shaped it.

As I followed the stream I saw at first the oily scum of semi-stagnant water and I began to sink in a little swamp. The flow at a tiny waterfall seemed perhaps a cupful a minute.. But about fifty metres on the flow had increased to say one or two litres per minute. And when I reached the lake or large pond I felt pleased to have traversed at least this minature river from source to destination. (From its birth to its death you might say.) Long ago I thought of canoeing the length of the Severn (in Welsh it is called Hafren, the name of the house where I was born and also the name of my father's pony).

Looking about me at the tall beeches and oaks, and hearing and seeing the constantly falling acorns (one or two every second now) I am just astonished to be witnessing the process of autumn and of tree propagation so vividly, if that is the word. I don't think it is. So enclosingly or so totally perhaps?

No acorn has hit me as yet. And no tree has fallen.

A man walks by reading a newspaper. I've been writing and looking for an hour and a half. Perhaps it is time to return to what we call the world, our little provin

(...beeps - I reached the limit of handheld computer space for one day's journal, 786 words it seems...)

our little province,,, perhaps those commas (that I intended to be full stops) convey the temporary nature of our human nature , , , between birth and death?