The walking week: K

Monday 9th April 2012

K FOR… knots, knowledge and knockers.

Much of the mill-stream has now dried up. I pause to follow a lone mallard as he glides to the end of the thin channel, waddles ashore, takes off, alighting briefly on the wall before heading further upstream, under the bridge and into the wood: a drake’s progress, far removed from Hogarth or Stravinsky.

The latter, I recall, once said, “A good composer does not imitate; he steals.” This would appear to be a very neat observation… had not T S Eliot said more or less the same thing twenty years previously.

Everything is growing. Trees in the old orchard I had thought too lichen-laden to bear fruit have donned sleeves of white lace; chestnuts are pulling back sticky-bud curtains; green shoots promise blue bells.

I’ve been reading about how bees use propolis resin to protect their hives. Nature is an amazing maze, a labyrinth of unknown questions and I-forget-knots. Was I taught any of this at school? Did they try and tell me, but I paid no attention? How can one know quite a lot while understanding so little?

Many walkers stride into the holiday weekend, dogs bounding on to practice courts, while their ladle-carrying ball-boys and -girls patrol the base lines. The grey of the path mirrors the cloud, but I long for puddles and thunder and downpour. Few, it seems, see climate change as a global warning.

I’m never sure what to think about anything: must revisit Pope’s Seat, a good stretch yonder up the Broad Avenue, where perhaps the poet dipped his pen into the Pierian spring… without such ponderous alliteration.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing,” he warned us, though that too has often been re-written.

Did the cottages on the hill’s left once have front gardens? Their doors open straight on to the pavement, inviting memories of cherry-knocking and bob-a-jobbing scouts.

Bells and buzzers reflect this age of uniformity. You can tap out your own rhythm with a knocker, like stepping to the music of Thoreau’s different drummer.





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