Fenced trees in the mist in Cambridge. This is Midsummer Common where the cows roam free, so the trees need to be protected.
Not only was it misty, someone had gone around and edged the leaves in white and put little dots of white along the veins of the leaves.
Which reminds me of a poem, half remembered that I wrote when I was about fifteen. My parents, grandparents and I would go out in the car. We lived a long way from the countryside, and really it would not have made much difference had we been nearer. You could drive in the countryside and you could get out in a lay-by and eat sandwiches and drink tea from a flask. But you couldn’t get into the countryside, not really into it. This is England: You couldn’t and you cannot just get out and walk.
Well, you could if you went to a National Park, but they don’t grow on trees. So I wrote this poem that was odd really because I am not sure exactly what it was speaking to. I don’t remember the whole poem, but it was a series of records of things you could see in the countryside, in nature. I remember the very end of the poem because of the last two lines.
So imagine the poem started with a line about what you could see. Then there was a list of things, and then the penultimate line, the last in the list of things you could see, was something like ‘the veins on a leaf caught in the sunlight’, and then the last line.
So the poem went something like this:
You can see
The veins on a leaf caught in the sunlight
But not through a car window.
I came across this photo in my files while I was look for something else. It’s a crop of a street scene in lower Manhattan in New York. I am on the pavement and two men are walking across the street towards me on the crossing. Both wore hats and one was Asian. I couldn’t see the other man because he had dark glasses on, but maybe Hispanic. The trilby that the Asian man was wearing was a fashion statement. All their clothes were, and looking at it when I came across the photo took me back to think about when I was still at school.
I had a pair of Hush Puppies, brown suede. I think I wore that brand from my mid to late teens. I thought they were cool. I wonder what word I used to describe them, because I doubt whether it was ‘cool’. Then I developed a whole thing about revolting against looking cool and that included not cutting my hair or my beard. The idea was not to be or to look artificial or the product of artifice in any way. It’s a forlorn hope, but the intent was there.
I know I took this photo because I thought the men looked both cool and at the same time slightly ridiculous. Just a little bit, because it is a free world and maybe it is fun to dress up. As long as it doesn’t become a straight-jacket that controls thought and experience.
Here is my big thought. Hair styles are what set human beings apart from the animals. Start with the hair style and everything else flows out from them.
Tamara and I knew a woman (she is dead now, G-d rest her soul) and she had a great French cut, hair shaped and tapered in on the back of her neck. She had a very experience-filled life, fleeing countries and ending up in arty England. Despite her age she looked great with that well-cut style.
Bottom line – Tamara keeps telling me to buy some clothes – get rid of my mall-man fleece and buy some decent clothes. And I don’t know what to get.