Thursday, 31 May 2012

Poetically Man Dwells

Heidegger's essay 'Poetically Man Dwells' explores the theme of human presence in the world. It is a text dense with meaning which invites careful, attentive reading.

Here at the Bungalow, the world continues its ineffable life - with me or without me. The turtle dove is turrr-turring from somewhere out in the green leafage round the pond; the moorhens are urgent with food collection; the song thrush is declaiming from a high bough.

Nevertheless, I and my fellow humans have shaped this place by our makings, actions, poiesis. The big ash tree from which the thrush sings was planted - or allowed to grow - beside the lane, perhaps 100 years ago. The pond was once a fish pond in the 17th century, an orderly rectangle (as Johannes Kip's engraving shows), but is now a chaotic fiesta of dark water and sprawling vegetation. The lawn patrolled by the moorhens has been shaped by my choices with a mowing machine, and so has the ant-heap growing in the middle of it.

I am creating a world here, and others will do so after me.

Plants and animals do not know this fact.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Coneygar Lodge

A two-drawer filing cabinet is a handy thing if you have a shortage of space, but a four-drawer is best if you mean business.

Paul [Brocklehurst] helped me replace my old two-drawer last Saturday. We imported a big cabinet taken from my late father's office at Redgrave. It has brass handles and is decorated to resemble wood; it dates from the first half of the last century, and must have originated from the Estate Office at Hinderclay Hall, pre 1971. It is a gloomy tin tower with a cloud of memories hanging around its summit, freighted with a cargo of papers. We pulled out the drawers to move it, and there - at the bottom - was a paper lying among the dust and old paper clips. A carbon-copy of a letter from my father to a solicitor about renting out Coneygar Lodge, near Bibury, in 1965.

I am caught by a surge of memories. We left Gloucestershire in 1965 to move to Snape Hill in Suffolk; the Lodge was our temporary home before the move.

Coneygar Lodge © Pauline Wilson 1965

It was a cottage built of Jurassic limestone on a lonely road in the Cotswolds, opposite a big wood. People said the road was Roman. My six-year old self was fascinated by its unconverted bread oven and initial lack of electricity, but above all by the plethora of moths which crowded in at my bedroom window on summer nights. I had never seen such riches before; they welled up from the depths of the wood. I clearly remember the beauty of my first Puss Moth, its dappled white wings and tremulous, dynamic energy. That page of indigo typescript has called up a lost world.