Stardate 74628 or 47634.44
Everyone’s calendars are relative to a starting point. It’s been a year since I started this journal so it’s Journalday 365 today. Trekkies might date it as 74628 despite the fictitious origins. Then again, Star Trek on TV (74628) isn’t on the same calendar as the game played as Star Trek Online (47634). Parallax takes many forms.
We walked the pier in Dun Laoghaire this beautiful spring morning. It was banked in fog that rolled in and out all day. I slipped on camouflaged seaweed while watching a paddle-boarder enter the frame for a perfect shot. I saved the camera, thumped my coccyx and missed the shot. Walked it off while thinking about how to capture enough shots of magnolias for a photo project that may (or may not) yield the next photozine.
I’d been invited to visit a garden barely 500 m by ravenglide from our own roost. There, I had conversations with a masked woman who told me about the garden while her curious spinones tasted my camera. Sunday morning and I was made very welcome and allowed to roam freely from thuya to pittosporum to dogwood to magnolia among the many dormant or emergent specimens. But my eye was defocussed by shooting, blinding pelvic pain (all puns intended).
I’m glad I’m not setting out to walk to Rome in the next few days. But I’m saddened not to be walking across the Alps this year. I believe we are now mid-pandemic and the next year will bring more anxiety and confusion than the last. But hopefully, there will be much less viral illness and respiratory death. I also hope there will be no space for fascists or other extreme views that might hijack a return to the relatively peaceful and prosperous lives that nearly 8 billion minds were formerly living together.
Read Factfulness by Hans Rosling if you doubt things were improving for the majority of the planet’s inhabitants before the pandemic setback.
And of magnolias, ‘why do these plants cast such as spell over us, turning us into helpless addicts?’ asked Thomas Pakenham in The Company of Trees. I don’t know enough to answer that question.
Colin Tudge wrote in The Secret Lives of the Trees that the ‘magnoliales order contains round 2,840 species in six families’. You’d think that would be a big enough group to satisfy all desires. But here’s a thing, I know and much admire a particular tulip tree in a FabHappy Surrey garden. Easy to spot, the leaves are like the five tip maples but with four points. It’s the middle leaf tip that’s missing. It’s not a maple (and I knew people who framed their maple leaves for sale) and it may or may not be a magnolia. It’s another form of parallax that not every botanist will classify the two Liriodendron tulip tree species as magnolias.
Chris Westrup says
I wanted to express my amazement and pleasure on the first! anniversary of the Walking Commentary blog. How you are able to write such a varied and lively blog in the comfort of your own home is truly a source of amazement. It’s a pleasure too to read a blog on such diverse topics and the photos I am pleased to see are coming into their own and are themselves quite something. What’s more the blog is an unexpected benefit of not having to walk across Europe last year and I’m impressed with the impeccable reasoning that seems to imply that a date towards the end of the 2020’s is something to look forward too.
Simon Robinson says
What a coincidence! You have the same name as someone I would walk with. I recall fondly a lunch taken with that Chris together with St Teilo, the former bishop of Llandaff who has resided in Llantilio Crossenny since 580 CE. Blessed meteorites also featured somewhow. I am even less certain of memories from a walk on Slieve League in a howling gale in an era when all wet-gear leaked and helicopter medevac wasn’t yet a dream.
I calculated the distance to be walked to Rome as 2700 km. At one metre per stride, that’s going on for 2,700,000 million knee flexes not to mention the hip wear and the bunion impacts. Far less wear to have typed 270,000 words pre-empting the conversations that might have driven your namesake up the walls of the Alps and propelled him (and me) after Hannibal who had the sense to use elephants to carry his packs.
I remain yours fatefully,