Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dawn chorus

Back to my village and the familial fold. I went for a walk yesterday morning. The light was crystalline, the frost crisp underfoot. I paused to look across plowed fields, and had an Anselm Kiefer moment. Holly nearby dripped slowly with dew, a fallen branch on the ground had impossibly green bark. All the senses were beckoned to come alive again. Halfway round my usual trek, I met a local twitcher who had spotted a kingfisher. Through his binoculars I caught sight of the flaming orange breast of the bird, but it didn't turn so I could see the cobalt blue of the back. Just nearby a few years ago, I once saw a badger. Not many people have seen either in the UK so the rare privilege was mine. The dawn chorus even at this time of the year is sonorous delight. It's good to clear the head in the countryside. Each step of the way of my usual walk is patterned with memories, erotic, emotional, metaphysical. It is always a spiritual form of return, walking past layers of former selves, the growing onion of my existence.

The whole family went to a local pub restaurant last night. Dad regaled with stories of his granddad. He once owned forty horses and 9 houses in the village. I calculated we'd be sitting on £2m of assets and a nice rental income, if only he'd not decided to sell fifty years ago. Creating parallel universe scenarios from the past to the present day is an interesting exercise - it shows the consequences of decisions that endure long into the future. If my great-granddad had a different head event, we'd have a gitte in France, a London pied-a-terre and perhaps be buying in Shanghai by now. I screwed up my eyes and tried to imagine a wormhole into this other place..


Sarah 10:23 am  

Hi Jeremy,

I hope you're enjoying your time back in the midlands with the family. Please send my regards to your parents.

I sometimes try to imagine how things would have been had my great-grandfather had an aptitude for farming, rather than law - after his parents had insisted that he take on their business; and had my great-grandmother been thrifty rather than frivolous.

That house they lived in - in the village nearby to your grandparents' - is now split into several sizeable abodes.

There is that other strange parallel universe too - the one where your grandfather and my nan actually got on when they dated (and your grandfather didn't think my nan was such a "snob"!)....

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