7 September 2001 the myth of obedience

It's many days since I wrote on the handheld - I've been forgetting to buy batteries.

I'm sitting now before Barbara Hepworth's monolith - empyrean (of 1957?) - a sculpture I much like. Someone has scratched into it the letters AAAMINOS - which I suppose resembles a word from Greek myths so I suppose it can be forgiven, even welcomed?

But the sculpture itself is to me quite perfect - especially in its subtly curved hollows and swellings each echoing others though gently and without overemphasis(another Greek word by the look of it?).

But now I go to get some lunch. This is a day out after much effort to write something... and now I doubt what I've written - so I'm here out of doors looking at a favourite piece of art in this place that I like (and to wait for my judgement to become clearer before I look again at that writing).

Now I'm back at the keyboard and remembering one or two events of my walk.

Firstly what I took to be an extra large caterpillar, about 70 mm long and say 15 mm in thickness - light green with a hard scaly skin. When I picked it up (so as to rescue it from the hard surface of the path) it struggled violently, coiling and uncoiling several times a second.... what was it, a baby snake? I dropped it on the grass and did not attempt to move it to a place where it might be safer. It was too unpleasant to hold.

On my walk back from the sculpture I lay down for a while in a natural bower, where I ate some of the exceptionally plentiful blackberries this year. As I looked up I could see the sky framed by several different plants: brambles, oak, some I did not recognise and I think some long yellowed grasses. I felt soothed and comforted - out of the wind in this little country spot in the sun - it reminded me of my childhood.

This evening, while buying batteries for my watch and for the handheld, I noticed a small caterpillar on my sleeve. Did it attach itself to me several hours before in that spot where I lay on the ground?

People in the shop mostly cringed from it. I took it to a little park and put it in the densest vegetation I could find.

While in the park I was shocked to see a boy of about eight stamping his feet as he deliberately trampled his way through a newly planted bed of orange flowers. He was throwing stones at another boy who didn't seem to mind - I guess it was a game. But the way in which he walked straight through the densely planted flowers led me to feel that the boy, and very likely the whole culture, have become utterly without care or self restraint or any thought for public space or for others. I know that I am probably exaggerating but my shock was real. Is that what has happened? And if so, what will be the consequences? I don't like it.

But of course, in the Greek myths, as in others, the gods behaved far worse than did that poor boy. Was he simply following the myths he is used to - those seen and learnt in the streets or school playgrounds and on television? I suppose life is not of itself safe and comfortable and obedient - the middle class myth I was brought up to. Just think what it must be like to be a blackberry - or a snake or a caterpillar! Or a small boy in the inner city as it is now?

There is much more to life than we think. What is it like to be a battery? (No questions are outlawed.)