Though I seem to have missed out on my fair share this week. Not to worry: I made up for it today, at least a bit. Sitting quietly doing nothing is one of the quintessential wild experiences. It helps to do it in the right sort of place of course – but anywhere you can sit still without looking at a screen is the most marvellous release from civilisation for most of us.
So Eddie, Cindy and I went and had a sit at somewhere not so terribly special, and then walked a bit, and then sat at a not entirely dissimilar sort of place. Very pretty and all that, but not the sort of place you’d go looking for rarities.
But it’s that thing from Orhan Pamuk, Turkish writer and Nobel laureate: “What makes the marvellous is its peculiar way of being ordinary; what makes the ordinary is its peculiar way of being marvellous.” If you spend all your time with only one of these categories, you lose the other.
So we admired the pitch-perfect nattiness of black-headed gulls, foraging at the townie end of the River Chet, and then, downstream a little way, we sat and watched the water. Wild water is the thinking person’s television. Or better still, a form of television that actually banishes thought, like the teachings of a Zen master.
There were collections of brief concentric circles as fish rose to take fragments of life from the surface, making subtle shifting patterns on the water, patterns that kept vanishing and miraculously reappearing. A Zen painter with his black ink might have captured it in half-a-dozen miraculous brush strokes: a master of haiku might have done so in 17 enchanted syllables.
But I just sat. And shared Eddie’s delight at a mallard: a female with a flotilla of ten ducklings trailing along behind her, sometimes one of them pedalling frantically to get back in line, like a member of the peloton getting left behind in the Tour de France.
We moved on. Back to the town. It was then that Eddie and I both yielded to vice. He had a portion of chips and I had a bottle of Czech beer from the Co-op: at £1.89 I felt that I couldn’t afford not to drink it.
Good stuff. Wild June and wild beer both. I stole a handful of chips; that seemed to complete the experience. Going all right, this June.