Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wild fruits


Henry David Thoreau's last document

A late manuscript by Thoreau, of 'Walden' fame, is about the observation and experience of fruits found in the wild. An exquisite assemblage of material in a handwritten form was transcribed to form this unusual book, a book that passes on to us a suspension of time, of smell and taste. We sense the land and its orientation to wind and sun, of saplings striving for space and gnarled specimens in rocks strewn with fallen fruit.
I took a walk this evening in the spirit of Thoreau, leaving my car when the sun was low in the sky. After thirty minutes walking I left the path and entered a wood I know, pushing into the interior to where a large yew spreads over dry pond. I sat at the base of this tree for some time in the fading light and silence. I say silence, but when you stop for any length time in a wood its never silent, all manner of sounds become apparent to those who will listen. The wind in the trees, roosting birds and cows three fields away blend in gentle symphony.
I walked home as the moon rose in a clearing sky and I spoke to a man unloading keep sheep from Udimore.
It seems 'wildwoods and fruits' are still only 30 minutes away if we find the time to look.