Forcible Thereness

Back filming for Escape to the Country and enjoying the other headspace that being outside of London and away from psychotherapy books brings.
Walking the country mile from the station at Buxted down to the hotel I was struck by the soft, summery air and the potent forms of nettles and trees, kerbstones and hedgerows. Henry James calls it “the violet hour”. Things seem more thingy at that moment after the sun has vanished but there is still light.

It also flicked into my mind how much easier it is to be absent from the present moment in the 21st century. The invention and spread of mobile phones ( I couldn’t survive without mine ) has one very significant impact on human mindfulness. Now we have the possibility to be somewhere else, connecting to someone else, at any point in time.
Before mobile phones if I had been walking a country mile in the violet hour from Buxsted I would have had no other option but to walk and be present. I may well have day-dreamed the whole way, but I would not have been able to actually speak to someone, check my Facebook messages, or leave an important voicemail. There was simply not the technology to spread ourselves so vastly over space and time.
Here and now was forced onto our consciousness much more often.
As it happened, I did have phonecalls I had to make. There were people I should have been speaking to, but I decided to turn everything off and just walk – me, myself and the hedgerow.
The English countryside is in summery collapse. Midsummer is long gone, all the greenery has past it most swollen greeness. The sap is starting its 6 month retreat back into the root and things are starting to deflate, sag under the weight of their own fructificence. The insistent heat of the day is still half-alive in the slow sagginess of the vegetation and the greying form of the pavenment and tarmac. The is some lazy birdsong. It was a beautiful walk.

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