online: 11 february 2016
modified: 29 january to 11 february 2016

29 january 2016 beyond the city forest

...walking toward an architectural break in The Great Wall that separates the Garden Suburb from Hampstead Heath... (what i call the city forest) and joins the heath to several churches... as well as to the suburb...

i left the bus at the church of Saint Edward the Confessor himself a holy monarch and the last of the Saxon Kings of England (before William the Conqueror)

inside the church a dozen people pray in silence... until two of them sing quietly for a few minutes... and then all leave except for me... and for a woman who is arranging flowers and other objects around the altar

she signals to ask how long i need before she locks the door... and i say 15 minutes... to which she signals 5

during which time i simply note the peace and devotion that is evident in this holy place

and then... in speaking about her belief in God and in the Roman Catholic Church... she says:

'i don't know how i'd manage without it'

after which i visit other churches inside the garden suburb... they all appear to be closed (except for the meeting place of the Society of Friends... or Quakers) which is occupied by cleaners who shout through locked doors that they are not allowed to admit others)

as i walk away i decide to let this visit to churches set the direction of future walks beyond the city forest to visit not only churches but any places or things that seem devoted to the mind or holiness (even if it seems to me more materialist than sacred)


© 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, , 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 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