Today is the first day I’ve remembered to go out consciously with the @natureasnurture Nature Connection Challenge in mind. Some thoughts…
I take the dog – well, carry him – to the park, as he’s too old and lame to manage it on his own. Billie Holiday is playing from the flats as we cross the road to the entrance. It’s sunny but with a reduced pallet, as if over-exposed. The colours are washed out now. A cool breeze dances around near the big old trees by the road, which sway with a sound like a gentle sea.
The old thorn tree that my kids used to play on – it was a pirate ship and the branches also doubled up as the goalposts for spontaneous football matches – is now little more than a lump of crumbling dry rotten mulch. I start to reminisce about time going by too fast but the dog stops me. He sometimes talks to me (in an irascible Prince Philip type voice) and says I have to try to live more in the present. Stop being so sentimental. I move my hand over the soft wood.
It has a dusty wine smell reminiscent of LPs bought in dark indie record shops, perhaps on visits to Glasgow or Edinburgh back in the early 80s (something like The Fire Engines’ Lubricate Your Living Room, say) – a particular piece of wood that I break off and put in my pocket looks like a flaky Lego cube of dried mushroom and smells of my dad’s old Benny Goodman EPs that he kept in the lift up compartment of the old wooden radiogram.
“Stop going backwards,” says the dog. “We are in the fucking park. Live for NOW.”
The dirt is pale grey, the leaves have little colour. Or is it my eyes? I hear traffic and kids shouting, kicking around a plastic bottle filled with water. There are oak leaves on the floor, some with acorns attached. The ground feels hard, dry, flaking away. On the way home, carrying the dog once more, I meet a very pissed couple coming the other way. They start talking to me… about the dog.
“See,” says the dog. “I am right here, in the moment”.
I feel that cool breeze again and notice the old woman on our road has cut back her Jasmine bush.