Little girls chase the pigeons while they ride their bikes on the concrete in the park.
“Try not to kill them,” one girl says.
Life feels uncertain.
Learn to ride it like a mustang.
Yesterday, I went for a socially distanced walk with two friends and their respective son and dog. It was strange and it wasn’t. Previously, it’s been quite common for me not to see friends for weeks at a time, but the difference now is I haven’t seen anyone for months. As one friend points out, “It’s all been two dimensional.” The other friend says, how driving through London she almost burst into tears. The city’s been in this great slumber for so long “and how will it ever wake up again?”
I’m quiet in the company of friends. And I know I’m quiet. Which makes me quieter. I’m wearing Doctor Death leather jacket and a baseball cap and look and feel decidedly dodgy.
I’m given a loaf of bread and lose my footing. I fall into the 12th century.
There was a break in the overcast sky for an hour earlier in the week. It was then I heard my first cricket of the summer hiding in the reeds. Noticed thistles have been left to grow in wide patches. The crickets have been quiet ever since.
I watch a fly on a railing for longer than is strictly normal.
The back pain is back in a big way. Question this time is: what am I not anxious about?
There are more protests this weekend. Unless you’re going to cause aggro, I encourage anyone and everyone to go (wear facemasks). But there’s something from the last week’s protest that has been bugging me. As we stood in Parliament Square I watched two young white women, they had cardboard signs they were holding but seemed uncomfortable with them. They held their ‘BLM’ tightly to their sides. Then one whispered to the other and gave her her phone. She stood in front of the crowd and held up her sign high above her head. She proceeded to do several poses, including one from behind. She then asked her friend quietly if she’d “got it”, which she nodded she had. Then they swapped positions and the other friend did exactly the same thing. They stood around looking uncomfortable for a few minutes, with their signs down by their sides again. And then they walked off.
There was too much happening last week for it to be at the front of my mind but it bugged me. And it’s been bugging me ever since. I don’t doubt that those girls had good intentions, but somehow they let themselves get in the way of those intentions.
Me, I don’t have the answers to anything.
Four Dead In Ohio runs round my head. Crosby, Stills and Nash. I used to sing it thinking it was sad, but not knowing what it was about.
People are still dying of the virus, in this country and all over the world (except New Zealand). It’s still very real despite the growing feeling its happening behind closed doors. A conservative estimate is well over 400,000 people have now died. The rise in deaths from domestic violence since lockdown makes it hard to swallow. And I mean makes it physically hard to swallow.
The tomatoes that drooped green like a willow are ripe enough to eat.
Tens of thousands of turtles drift to nest on an island in the Great Barrier Reef. It’s so calm. So peaceful. The turtles so sure of their destination. There is no doubt. Their purpose and reason for being is absolute.
We long to return to the water. I live in the bath.
I went to the Great Barrier Reef about fifteen years ago. I’ve never liked instructions so I ate melon and didn’t listen to the boat’s captain explain where to go and where not to. I swam away from the group and over a sort of reef precipice. It was blue. God it was blue. Blue like swimming pool blue. And covered in beautiful tropical fish and I couldn’t understand why no one else was over there. Just to the right of the reef was a deep deep dark crevasse. And when I looked down, meters below me were four reef sharks, circling.
Some words from the captain had made their way into my brain. “They won’t kill ya, but they’ll rip yer arm off.”
The elderflower champagne is adding an unexpected element of danger to our lives. My godfather has made it in Ireland before and gets advice sent from over there. He calls me with it. It’s not good news. Firstly, to prevent explosions, we’re supposed to be storing it in demijohns (expensive, enormous glass containers with diffusers to let pressure not air out) not wine bottles, and also, you’re supposed to wait a year before drinking, because there is a magic to it. This time next year, when the elderflower blooms again, that blossoming is also in the champagne’s DNA, and this is when you get the “petelance”, the fizz.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of things.
I need get back into the world, if only in the limited capacity of staring out the window, and get off the internet. There are some issues where there shouldn’t even be a side to take, there are some issues we should all be in agreement on. But that’s never going to happen and there comes a point when the internet stops being educational and it’s just people shouting at each other from either side of the valley. The internet makes all things binary, and what do we expect? It’s the nature of its code. In there, in here, it is a binary reality.
It’s warm this week and there’s a big wind. A big gentle wind blowing through deep layers of our psyche. It feels like an encouraging friend nudging us forward when it’s our turn to speak. History repeating itself is not necessarily a bad thing: there’s some unfinished business and it’s back to get finished. That’s the thing with the past, it’s always catching up with us.
Maybe tomorrow it will be sunny.
When all this started I read something Hunter S Thompson wrote: “When the going gets Weird, the Weird turn pro.”
It’s stayed with me throughout this. It’s our time, weird ones. Let’s go!