I may not be the most animated geezer on the street, but that current restraint does not excuse me from not-so-happy memories of safari into psychosis. Those memories also furnished me with an awareness for preventative action when perceiving the black curtain to be drawing. Prevention is a pretty instinctive process these days, and not always consciously recognised, though sometimes an assured mechanism is needed. Regular journeys into the backwater country paths to enjoy the local beauty of the planet are one assured preventative method I employ.
I can understand to others that this may sound unimpressive, maybe in comparison to dubstep on a Friday night for example. Yet, that subjective impressiveness works for me. Anyway, I tend to lean more towards the underwhelming epicurean, than the hedonist of old. I imagine If I had suggested a country walk to my grungy, urban, and youthful self the prospect would only have been construed as an opportunity for sex outdoors; albeit not sex with my newfangled, beardy, and unappealingly male self. Although, the idea of sex outdoors still appeals to me, I think I’ll leave the time travelling auto-incest thought experiment for another blog post. I digress…
Even though I may not always travel down the same country paths I do often find myself travelling down the same paths of thought. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the city that my current rural location can sometimes have a similar novelty to that of a theme park. Though a theme park with more time for contemplation. Contemplation which almost always leads to the sad fate of the Universe. An agnostic fate which frighteningly appears to be so juxtaposed to everything we know. That cold dispersed future is one that induces the hope that some natural phenomenon exists for the generation, or regeneration, of a universe where life can exist. It is almost too hard to realise and comprehend how lucky I am to exist, to be conscious of my existence, and be living on a planet where so much life and vitality also exists. Thankfully, I am able to appreciate the relatively miniscule, but powerful, invigorations of contentment that my senses do allow.
It is perhaps a melon-twisting contrast that I must pay homage to my dog to similar degree. Without him I would probably feel less inclined to journey out into the therapeutic wilds. Maybe this negates the sentiment of the previous paragraph of awe, but if it wasn’t out of some altruistic necessity for my old pal I’d probably feel like a sinister irrelevance on the landscape. I suspect there’s some hitherto unspecified indoctrination in my past that accounts for the paranoia I feel for being a lone male in the middle of nowhere. It seems only a companion has the ability to cure that self-conscious condition. In return, I am only too glad to supply him with plenty of grass to eat and balls and fairies to chase come wind, rain, and shine.
At the risk, or assurance, of insufficient hyperbole, I will use today as a for instance of an excursion. This morning delivered what was an intermittent shift between mist, drizzle, and showers. They created a chilled pixellated sensation on the skin. Those moist sensations were occasionally interjected by another precipitation; the heavy surface water runoff from the leaves of trees. I do not know if it exists already, but that shower under the canopy of trees really does deserve its own word in the dictionary. The terrier genetics within my staffy friend were tracking all the invisible rabbits and deer his nose could grab onto. The fauna’s footprints were imprinted in the sodden soil along the path, and were hosting a diaspora of slugs utilising the opportunity of dampness to slide and pulsate across the trodden divide.
Whilst the plants of the track were bonsaied underfoot, their unrestrained cousins on either side pummeled my thighs and kneecaps with moisture. Not for the first time it occurred to me that my saturated trousers were a testament to the mockery of my wellington boots. I also remember thinking that moments like that made me glad I seldom participated in poetry. When I considered my style, any subsequent poem would have been far too esoteric to distract a reader from noticing the lack of rhyme. I also wondered how I would have explained the unexpected smell of chips within such a poem. Even now, that nostalgic blast of the chip shop is so unusually arbitrary that it has, even now, temporarily derailed my train of thought. Chips? Olfactory hallucination? Phantosmia? Perhaps there had been chips about. Hiding behind a bush like chips do. There was no shortage of gulls lining up on the fence to the aqueduct. Gulls like chips. Enough of that fixation.
I could not see many other birds, apart from a swan and its single file of new cygnets coasting along the river, yet I could hear plenty. I’m no twitcher, but there was no mistaking the enigmatic acoustics of the cuckoos above the background discord of smaller birds. Their high-pitched clashing melodies seemed to partner up quite nicely with the slightly chilly whip of the breeze around my earlobes.
It’s all beautiful. I can only hope the ills that trouble us all will never take the humbling enjoyment of awe away from me; and that in turn prevents the black curtain from ever covering my mind. Dogs and slugs trump psychosis every day of my week. It is a conundrum that even psychosis could seem preferable to the googols of years of unconscious existence that is the current consensus. Who knows? Maybe being part of an interstellar planetoid will be cool.