Friday, 14 March 2008

meeting : rural time

I'm in Hemyock to talk with G and J from the Neroche Scheme and from the Forestry Commission, to ask them questions about natural history, migratory species, and significant events in the landscape. we cover all the topics. we talk about conservation, climate change.

All sorts of beginnings come from this meeting, a kind of network is laid out on the table, people to meet, species to track (invisible, rare) and events to consider.

When i ask G about a sense of personal events that have 'passed through' Neroche for him, he talks about two things, two houses where he played as a child. One is now gone, there's nothing left, it has almost vanished into the ground, and in such a short space of time. The other was bought up, converted, done up and now the owners like to keep their privacy. they bought a cottage for a rural life, and they don't want paths and people running through. they have a high fence, and some solid boundaries.

The polarity of the stories of the two houses become kinds of marker points for me at either side of my peripheral vision.

They recall my own childhood to me within my 'square mile': a milkstand in the hedge, almost gone now, hardly anything left, and so quickly. And there, some new commuter houses where Quandary and Merrylegs' (!!) stables were. The village's architecture visible in my mind's eye now, my sense of place written between my hands and feet via nerves (and horse dust). My immediate ability to recall both somatically and sensually where I 'was', and all those other things 'were' - it's electric. Palimpsest, accretion, disappearance.

"It may be that loyalty to something as immaterial as ideas sets thinkers apart from those whose loyalty is tied to people and locale, for the loyalty that ties down the latter, will often drive the former from place to place." Rebecca Solnit 'Wanderlust - a history of walking'

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