My walk in Hampstead
Heath to Kenwood House
Saturday 6th of October 2007
I began my walk entering the Heath by the entrance at the bottom of South Hill Park it was two o’ clock in the afternoon.
My idea was to concentrate on my audio-visual senses first, but there were too many things to hear and to see that it was making the whole thing rather impossible. There were dogs and owners, parents with children, elderly and frail people with their friends, lovers in love and so on. I felt bothered by all these people and wished it wasn’t Saturday. Nevertheless I arrived at the first pond and found two mothers, one sitting on the bench feeding a baby and the other feeding the ducks with the help of a three year old girl.
I reflected on myself and felt nostalgic as memories of my own children came back. It seemed like yesterday but indeed time has somehow flown almost unnoticed.
I accelerated my steps in the hope to escape deeper into the woods, The roars of the cars on my left sounded as though they were coming through loudspeakers purposely to hurt my ears.
I felt desperately in need of quietness and decided to walk away from the visible paths. I went under the trees walking gently so as not to step on plants. My mind was calm and soothed until a loud voice not far from where I was began to speak on a mobile phone.
How inconsiderate I kept thinking and felt irritated, the conversation was now enhanced by a manic laughter. Once again I had to divert myself from my path, I reflected on the feeling… The feeling of invasion was intensified by a strong longing to hear the singing of the birds and sound of the woods.
At last there were no voices and I continued in the quest with heightened senses. There was a smell of wet wood, I stood for a while filling my lungs with the lovely fresh air, a childhood memory came. It was the visits to my godmother’s house through the shortcut by the brook and under the dripping trees. I then began to visualise the monsters I use to imagined coming out from under the cave wearing heavy coats of dark green moss. Or the phantom branches with arachnid fingers that would seize me up into the hollow tree and would keep me there, waiting for amoreme.
Suddenly a black crow landed heavily about two metres from where I was standing and begun to peck on the floor, as it lifted its beak up I realised it was eating a worm. How horrid I thought, and then I heard my mother’s warning,” do not fall asleep in the woods, crows belong to the devil.” I stayed with that thought for a moment feeling silly and uneasy. I’m NOT superstitious I thought, but nevertheless I walked away from the crow feeling eerie.
I arrived at a clearing and stood listening and observing. On the tree behind me I could hear crackling noises, looking up I counted five squirrels hanging upside down eating the sycamore seeds. I watched their agility with fascination, slowly I became aware of the tweeting of the birds, the croak of the frogs, zzzchzz of the crickets and the loud sqwaaack if the crows, I was safe!
Back into the woods again I could see many shapes and silhouettes, some of animals others of phoney people. I found a tree with a thick branch hanging very low and my instinct was to sit on it. It felt comfortable and looking around I saw a slope with brown grass on the top resembling the shape of a lazy lion with sad face. I thought about my reasons for finding the lion sad. Close to it was a fallen tree and had some branches chopped off, the remaining trunk resembled a large woman carrying a sack of potatoes.
At last I arrived at the green grass of Kenwood House and I went to find a Henry Moore sculpture that I had seen before, to my surprise it wasn’t there, I felt disappointed, at least there was a Barbara Hepworth, Good but not the same!
On my way back I just walked fast but wherever I looked I could see all sorts of figures and patterns.
By this time, the pond was less crowded and I sat down to look at how the weak afternoon sun was hitting the magnificent yellow, green and brown trees at the other side of the pond. The shade rested on the water transforming the colours into a yellow and aquamarine fashion cavalcade. Emerging through the middle came marching in a couple of black ducks with bright white beaks resembling two men wearing tuxedoes.
On my side of the pond I watched without blinking the ripples and waves of the water, slowly they became large translucent space crafts with me inside cruising the galaxies. Somewhere in outer space my stomach rumbled, I realised I hadn’t eaten, I landed my craft and went home.