A man is writing into his laptop on my badger bench this matinee morning. I don’t blame him. It’s a beautiful little contemplative space. He’s plugged in to his earphones though. I don’t understand how people can do that. I tried to ski once in earphones and I realised how fundamental the soundscape was to both my joy and my control. You can hear the changes in the surface. You hear small sounds of nature. You hear the other people. And here in the stillness it is no different. It’s rich here. I wouldn’t want to be just plugged in to noise.
Right here and right now if you listen there is so much. There’s nature everywhere, but this spot carries more of the natural and less of the man made sound. Even though, under everything, the road is never far.
Summer is growing old, and the leaves are in full abundance. The wind brings deeper rumblings as the forces of autumn vie to unseat the green and to force us once more into the stark and the cold. I can only tell a few birds by their songs. I wonder if there’s an app for that? Bird Shazam. There’s something nattering in a tree to my right. No idea what it is. Occasionally there’s a lark. I’ve learnt that one. And always the pigeons. Surely the easiest just as they’re everywhere.
On the road near our base, there’s some sort of small brown pigeon that by rights should be extinct. Pigeons are historically pretty bad at protecting themselves. Rats from our ships made short work of many international varieties, that were too docile after never having been predated. These brown ones, by rights, should all have been hit by cars by now. They sit in the road and you always have to slow down to a near halt to avoid killing them. Thousands of Oxford drivers have kept them safe by braking for them. If that’s their behaviour everywhere then they’re an evolutionary dead end. But here, perhaps it’s them singing to me as I get ready for the last day.
My digs are packed. I’ve said goodbye to Clive the sick kitty. Everything is in the XTrail and farewells already mostly sung. Sad times to see the end of this little world kick-starting job. Remembering what it is to be in the groove. Off we go now, perhaps. Things might be actually picking up. This can only be a good thing…
And I’m back in London. The concrete jungle. A very different type of pigeon here, and thankfully not as noisy. For just a few hours I’m in the city. I’m gonna sleep. I’m gonna wake. And I’m gonna go off to the opera.
But I’ll miss these guys. And Stanley who wasn’t even with us when these photos were taken. It’s been fun. Onwards!