Thursday, June 22, 2006

Midsummer 2006

Hampstead Heath, June 21st 2006.

First I went to the men's bathing pool. The men's pool has a relaxed feel, no lockers necessary, a small area for nude sunbathing. The water was delicious, clear into green, just slightly cooler than the warm day. It's so nice to swim in clean fresh water, no chlorine, no salt. I swam around as ducks and coots chased one another around, competing for nest space.

After fifteen or twenty minutes, breaststroke, crawl, backstroke, I dried, dressed, and wandered up the hill slowly, feeling slightly light-headed, realising I was still not completely well after my course of medication and the tooth extraction. The sun warmed me and I lay down in the long grass of Hampstead's grass meadow. Small bugs jumped all over my half-length trousers, and I felt my heart racing. I concentrated on my breath, and worried about my heart. It was the fact I have been ill, I told myself, insisting on calm, until she took my mind and body and smoothed the moment.

Further up the hill, the stand of pines on a oval rise, encircled by low black-spiked railings. This is named Boadicea's Mound and is thought to be a pagan site. I jumped over the railings cautiously, throwing my bag with swimming gear and water ahead of me. As I passed up onto the top of the mound, it was approaching midday on the longest day, and I felt elated. I was in a sublimely positive mood, for having given myself the time to find the place.

At the top, I found a brass bowl, foxgloves, a piece of red wool.. someone had been there at daybreak, I surmised. I felt the old year drop away and so I spent some time out of time there, taking photographs, feeling the breeze, smiling. I sat on the log and felt the spell of the place. Somehow the precious object seemed to require something of me.. I only had water, so I half-filled the bowl, watching in the water surface the reflection of the tree-tops above me.. I was transported. I drank water from the bottle, floated a pine cone and watched the wind blow it around and around. The sun came and went, but the day stayed warm.

It was time to go after a time, and so I went. I was hungry. I walked calmly the ten minutes to the cafe, sat in the sun, watched the rooks eating scraps, and enjoyed a latte and a cherry cake. I was having the thoughts that only come with time given to yourself, inspired by the pilgrimage and the pond to think of less, of doing less of the things that keep me from being empty, from being free.

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At 5:10 PM, Blogger China Blue quoth...

That sounds like the ideal way to pass the longest day of the year. Beautiful.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Indigobusiness quoth...

Sounds like you found the Grail.


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