OLD NOTEBOOKS : East Anglia, England (originally dated October 8, 2012): 06.00hrs: I’m upstairs in the cottage, sitting at the desk placed in front of the small window looking out at the world. What a strange sight, everything is chocolate brown. The field was ploughed yesterday, I remember now, a man in a red tractor ploughing the earth into neat chocolate furrows, moving by small increments across the field and back, followed by a flock of pale grey seagulls making a tremendous mewing sound. It took him the whole day.
Furrowed chocolate fields forever, like lines drawn in the earth, as you would draw with a pencil on a piece of paper, but on a huge scale; a measurement made across the field. Furrows as neat as a comb passes through hair and it leaves the strands precisely separated from each other. The strange thing is though, it’s done and no evidence of it having taken place remains. Just the mystery of this energy left behind. The field devastated with precise lines marked deep into its surface; an orderly catastrophe.
Events generate their own time, an on-going transformation like clouds in the sky above speeding along in this cold and windy October day; they normally move so slowly you can’t see them moving at all. On a windy day like this they’re tumbling and spinning along, against a layered background of other clouds moving in their own air currents, in their own place in time. A wheeling clockwork of engaging cogs contained in the greater space above me and all around.
It’s as if the sky has become the sea, slow moving but clearly defined ‘waves’ created by a complexity of air currents. The eye/ brain/ visual mechanism, engaged with cloud watching in this way, becomes weary and things come into consciousness in small jerks. The smooth flow of movement is broken up into a speeded up sequence of ‘stills’ that seem to have their own life, unfolding as my consciousness apprehends the ‘knowing’ of it.
I go downstairs, step outside the door to see the sky, and the scale of it blows me away…. It’s immense, over the top of the hill and away in the direction of the coast a few miles away. Then in all directions in a pattern of huge arcs and smaller interlocking wheels of cloud forms reflecting complex wind movements that I can see only part of. There’s a sense of very much more than this and the rest of it is sweeping around, thousands of miles away over the curvature of the earth. Clouds transforming in vast spaces like blossoming flowers speeded up in time-lapse photography.
I go back inside the house and upstairs but the security of this building is not reassuring; I feel like I’m caught in a hurricane, held in freeze-frame motion. When I look out the window again the sky is still up there, doing its thing. The ploughman’s neat lines etched into the earth, row after row stretching as far away as the eye can see. This does not bring stability; there’s a feeling of unease that takes some time to settle. No ‘self’ to make sense of it. A mutuality of awareness in a world that’s not separate from me, but somehow I return to the familiarity of who I am. I have weight… gravity prevents me from flying away.
‘I am what the world is doing here and now. Trying to ground myself in constructed reality is not it. I am not inside my body, looking out at the world outside, so I don’t need to secure myself. Letting go of my self, there is nothing that needs to be made real.’ [David Loy, Linda Goodhew, ‘Consuming Time’]
None of us are separate from the world… though many think they are. We sure empathize with those who had to contend with hurricane Harvey and now Irma. We need to do far better regarding the environment. The so-called leaders of the U.S., here, have made terrible choices (regarding the environment).
Thanks Tom, none of us are separate from the world, it’s true. The way we arrive at that understanding may be insightful and revelatory, or it may be traumatic and fearful – as it must be for all the survivors of the storms. Anyone with a shred of empathy could understand that, except for Trump of course, at the mercy of his own demons, and simply not able to reach that far.
Irma sounds dreadful but this devastation has been going on forever in the third world and do Americans care? Maybe, just maybe some. The U.S. has elected a leader who won’t even cooperate with fixing the planet though we have perhaps done the most damage. I feel so sorry for the Floridians but also for the Haitians and the Bahamanians and the other people suffering tremendously because of the U.S. I am totally ashamed of the country I was born in and have lived in all my life. I am sorry to go on about Irma but you mentioned a hurricane and that is all I can think about now.
Thanks Ellen, a hurricane comes into your life and you are forever changed, I imagine it to be like this because it hasn’t happened to me. The experience of cloud-watching was alarming, as it is with other overwhelming aspects of the forces I am subject to. Here in India, the population may have an inherited ability to cope with natural disasters, being very much closer to the wild winds, typhoons, earthquakes, floods, drought and complete collapse of a III world city’s infrastructure. It makes no difference though who you are if a hurricane strikes, instant devastation at a level hard to believe. I was thinking of this when I posted the above re-blog…
This may be my favourite post of yours. (So far. 🙂 ) Please do keep writing and sharing.
Thanks Ben, for these supportive words. The post was an oldie, written when I still had the house in East Anglia and I’d spend a week or so there, alone and supposed to be renovating.
Renovating . Hmmm … There must be a post around the notion/concept of renovating just waiting to be written. 🙂
Yes, and Hmmm too … I have considered it, house renovation back in the good old days of living in a construction site. It took me many years to finish off the cottage project. People would say, “It’ll be nice when it’s finished!” and that was back in 1978. What we carry through it all is the DIY concept and that becomes the internal enquiry…
DIY. A notion to enquire into.
A subjective analysis…
For now at least but who knows what the future already holds.
For now at least… a subjective analysis of the present moment (I should have said)
Reblogged this on Ben Naga.
Thanks for the reblog!
I love that opening paragraph about the ploughing, and the second paragraph was even more beautiful! ‘ Furrows as neat as a comb passes through hair ‘ Wonderful Tiramit 🙂
Hey Jude, thanks for these words, it pleases me. I have to say though, I didn’t see the contrast between precise lines created by the ploughman and the free-form of transforming clouds. It was just something that happened that way…
Naturally poetic you are Tiramit! 😊
Thanks for these kind words, it’s the facility of the blog, for me. Also living in Asia for a few decades has had a life-changing effect…