Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Gotta get away from this day to day runnin' around"

As you can probably tell from my last post I was starting to get a little crazy. When this happens I take a day off and head for the woods.

I dropped Finn off with his child minder and caught a train from Waterloo to Dorking. To do this I had to change at Clapham Junction, probably the busiest station on earth. The assault was physical (barged by commuters) mental (nobody could tell me how to get to Boxhill and Wotsit - probably because the station is really called Boxhill and Westhumble. What can I say? My geography outside of London is crap.) - and aural (there was a constant barrage of announcements of one kind or another).

And then I listened to one of the announcements. It was a reminder that it was the 11th of November. At 11am there would be a 2 minutes silence to remember "victims of human conflict".

It was beautifully observed. Everything seemed to come to a halt. There were no announcements. Guards stopped blowing their whistles. People bowed their heads and stood still. For two minutes I was able to concentrate on something outside of the day to day running around and find some peace.

And then the delights of the Surrey Hills and their forests of Beech. I strode along on a carpet of coppery leaves with nothing but the small sounds of birds and the murmuring trees for company. At one delightful spot there was a huge beech tree, over two hundred years old according to the Timeout Book Of Country Walks, that marked the boundary between the Polesden Lacey estate and Ranmore Common. There was something wonderful about using a tree to mark a boundary, something that seemed to belong to an era now long gone, where the natural world was an important part of the fabric of human lives.

Later I realised that the air had a taste. It tasted fresh, clean and sweet. I began to draw deep draughts of it down into my chest. Again and again I breathed as deeply as I could until I realised I was becoming quite light-headed. Moments later I experienced what folk wot exercise are always banging on about - a rush of endorphins. I physically straightened, looked at the world and my face cracked into a massive dumbo grin. Wow. Life is good I remembered.

What I found in those woods was space. Head space. A place outside of clock time where I could

Isn't that what reading provides? Open a book and you are somewhere else, in a world of endless possibility.

And what a privilege just to be alive on such a lovely day. I was pleased that amid the bustle and business of a London station we had been given the opportunity to remember those that died, that continue to die, for things the day to day running around world deems worth dying for.


  1. wow, who needs Eckhart Tolle..

  2. Apologies for the hippy stuff...

    Too much air. Or something.

  3. Matthew:

    Neil Live at Massey Hall 1971.
    Lots o hippy banter...