Sunday, July 13, 2008

Walking the dog


Today the weather has decided to be warm and sunny, up on the Downs, the fields have been cut for hay, and all that is left is a green stubble, but around the edges the wild grasses are still there. Interspersed amongst great patches of nettles, their delicate seed heads shine with the early morning light. The finest of them is a mist of brown and purple, even the spider cannot create such an intricate tapestry, taller grasses are golden coloured hanging heavy with their seeded heads. The sky is that incredible blue overhead and three balloons that must have been launched in Victoria Park below are strung out in a line hardly moving in a calm morning.
Walking round near the wood, under the old ash trees, the grasses here are filigreed silver-gray, moon-coloured because of the shade of the trees. There is a quiet peace, even the birds in the grasses, are talking softly amongst themselves.
I come to my ash tree, the one I have often stood by and wondered what to do, the dog will throw himself down in the grass impatient that we are stopping, but touching its branches gives strength, it is old, and new growths have started round its base, their branches curving low to the ground, its roots are embedded in a steep hill, strong against the winter gales. Below is a small valley leading eventually to a cottage tucked under the hill, through these woods you can often see deer as they make their way from one place to another always on the move.
The land is calm, cows pastured below, yet the human world is in another fever, food is short and so is oil, calamity looms in stock markets; what edifices, what pyramids do we build to prove we are the superior species and yet all of it is as nothing compared to the intricacies of the natural world around us, we could shed nine-tenths of our lives here in the west and still not miss much.

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