Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Thoughts from a Walk in the Countryside: It was sunny and still today. Very far from the place my own heart is in. That's why the fields and woods are such a treat. I was thinking how peaceful and permanent they looked, how unchanging. But that of course, at least superficially, is foolishness. The field I was walking by was ploughed a few weeks ago and is already producing the first shoots of a new harvest. I can't identify the plant, but I remember something about "winter wheat" from the books I read when I was a schoolboy and not reading what my teachers told me to. Two fellow walkers passed me today, both with dogs. You always have a much better reason for being in the countryside with a dog than on your own. The first was a scrawny young man, so thin you could have snipped him up and posted him in an envelope, with a handsome chocolate labrador that he was yanking around too much on its lead. He annoyed me, and we ignored each other. The second was more of a surprise. He was rather dashing. I am not used to seeing attractive people on my walks. Ruggedly and stubbly good-looking, and boxy, if that's a word. The sort of man whose physique is made of boxes - one for the shoulders, the chest, the stomach, the rump - lean, but sturdy, and very nice to look at. I look at all bodies the same way, but with women it's with more curiosity than interest. We exchanged courtesy smiles. His was tinged with annoyance that perhaps I had looked too much. Maybe he would rather have been looked at by a girl, but lust is an equal opportunities employer, and it's a very public and unlimited company. And then I did the thing you should never do when you're having a walk in the countryside - I looked back. And he did the other thing you should never do on a walk in the countryside - he looked too. And we walked on, in our different directions, our peaceful walk in the countryside ruined by some other idiot, distracting us with ideas we'd rather not have.