I ran this route 3 months and 1 day ago on a winter morning. This time it’s a spring afternoon. It is less atmospheric now, but it’s easier to run with the sun.
There are moments when you can concentrate on your breath and your steps and on nothing else. Whatever else might have happened on a different path, in a different version of this life, you might well have ended up here on a day like this, running.
The inner voice likes differences, real or imagined, between what is and what might be. The differences collapse around fixed points. Fixed points are points where we would always have ended up. They are determined not by choice but by intrinsic pattern and necessity. A run like this is a fixed point. Commutes were fixed points too.
Most life-paths will converge at certain routes around certain time-slots. All the versions of yourself meet here. It’s like the inverse of the Frostian choice. The more and the less-traveled paths meet, joined back from a fork.
Last time about 2 miles away from Armathwaite there was a rider on a white horse, this time there is a tractor. There was more time to observe the horse and rider. The tractor turns a corner and races by.
Two cabriolets come around the bend towards me. One of the drivers turns around to the other: “Follow me I’ll take you to Lazonby, it’s a good road.” A short while later the red car overtakes me, it must have turned around. Did they disagree on the quality of the roads and decide to split? Are they racing from a starting point equidistant to Lazonby?
At the end of each day of travelling, observing, writing notes, Nikolaus Pevsner would make sure to finish his first draft about the day’s architecture in the evening. Once you go to sleep you lose the freshness. You need to get it out. It’s not about workaholicism as his son implies in the portrait, it’s about finishing what you start and getting to a usable increment each day, closing things off.
What did this view look like 3 months ago? Mistier, colder. There are new shoots and plants, but I am ignorant of the names of trees and flowers and clouds. Is it important to be able to put names to things? Yes, it is. A register slots things into place. Otherwise it’s all an impressionistic mess. It must be a lack of real interest. Perhaps the quality of one’s relationship with nature is another one of those evolving fixed points, where meetings between real and hypothetical paths are most likely.