Cycling the longest straight line in Britain on a folding bike, on wiggly paths, slowly.
Such a sparsely populated environment as the Mojave desert has clearly been a huge influence on Harold Budd’s style, which contains classical and jazz elements, though probably hews more closely to the modern ambient template (Budd prefers the term ‘soft pedal’).
As a child, I roamed a landscape I realise now I very much took for granted. Nestled in a village on the Kent/Sussex border, we had little money but an immense amount of physical freedom; fields and forests stretched for miles, and the uniquely invigorating breathlessness found in the wind atop the crumbling cliffs of Birling Gap was only a short drive away.
It was the early days of March and the UK had yet to go into lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic loomed ever larger.
This was the era of panic buying and supermarket shelves being stripped bare of goods including hand sanitiser and dried pasta. The streets of Manchester were tinged with a sense of impending doom, but no-one was quite sure what was coming…
In the west we are preoccupied with success. We feel as if we are not living life to the fullest if we take a minute to slow down, as if we are missing out on the precious 80 or so years on earth we get to call our own. We need to be constantly on the move until there is nothing left we truly need or want.
A deep, gnawing sadness descended again this week in Melbourne as we returned to a further 6 weeks of lockdown. Franco Parvarro emerges, death is explored and reborn as a comforting acknowledgement of change.
Walking in the heart of the Pyrenees, our ascent started into the mountain range. Bursting with enthusiasm to explore and a drive to keep up with the others I pushed on uphill. Suddenly I felt a severe pain in my knee. How could this happen on the very first day of a planned five week long walk? I was not willing to give up walking with the others so easily.
A walk through the Gardens of The J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles can end or begin by stepping over a poem engraved in stone on the ground which is composed by the artist who designed the garden. It seems strange that a complex of buildings so perfectly rendered in white granite can bring such a heightened feeling of fluidity to the observer; solid and immovable granite and the flowing quality of water have been captured seamlessly.
How can something so simple, be so difficult for us to do? Clearing our minds of clutter should not be that hard; we are not lifting anything physically, not running a marathon, not climbing a mountain. Yet the mountain in our minds can seem twice the size of Everest, and extremely hard to confront.