A long time ago someone told me that 'silent' has the same letters as 'listen'. From am's blog.
This land is your land, this land is my land/From California, to the New York Island/From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters/This land was made for you and me. Woody Guthrie.
I'm lounging here, half-way through my Ur-walk, among the flowers and tall grasses of the railway bank, listening to the silence. I've dallied briefly with the agricultural history of the Isle of Axholme - which is also its social and political history - and reflected on why this open landscape looks the way it does. Thinking of my own, small, inherited field, I consider such questions as: who owns the land, and why do they own it? Is it our land any more? Are we alienated from the land, or do we still feel a connection with it, in some primitive, instinctive way? What common land is left? Certainly this rambling railway embankment - once owned by British Railways - is now shared land, for the enjoyment of all: a physical, recreational walkway, a valuable spiritual resource.
I lie on the grass, stretched out like a cat in the hot sun. I listen to the silence, trying to recall what I heard, what I experienced (or what I imagined I heard and experienced) all those years ago, when I was young and easy under the apple boughs about the lilting house and happy as the grass was green. But all I get are distant echoes, shards of memory, disjointed fragments of meaning, little signs and pointers like the yellow arrows on the Camino: a wilted spray of elderberry blossom fallen onto the path; a rampant bed of nettles over a rubble of bricks - all that's left, forty years later, of the derelict station-master's cottage a gang of us used to explore; a dead fox, legs splayed out, a bullet wound to the head, and a spent shotgun cartridge, 'Trapshooter No 8', lying discarded in the grass.
The pain I once felt so piercingly as an adolescent is now but a mere shadow of this former suffering; the ecstasies I once felt so blindingly are now but faded rags of joy.
It didn't amount to anything more than what the broken glass reflects. (Bob Dylan. Up To Me.) Is this correct?
No one else could play that tune; you know it was up to me. (Bob Dylan. Up To Me.) Or is this correct?
I guess it's 'up to me' to decide - whether to leave the shattered glass of memory in meaningless fragments, or whether to say: yes, it's my life, my unique childhood, my individual world, my 'tune'. Let me stitch it together and make a coherent tapestry out of it!
The sun slips behind cloud, and I stand up, drunk with the heat, my neck red and tender, almost painful to the touch. A mild case of sunburn. Feeling sweetly, and sweatily, melancholic, I carry on slowly up the trail...
To be continued...