My mind drifted this morning, far from the algorithm I was working on. Was I old I wondered or had I simply changed.
The truth lies probably somewhere in between. I have both aged and changed, but I suspect the latter was the prime influence on my mood this morning. I was sitting in my ivory tower in London, but my heart lay elsewhere. In a garden perhaps.
If the brain has plasticity then perhaps mine has melted altogether. I certainly find myself a very different person than I was even some short while ago.
I enjoy algorithms, derive great pleasure from the little project I am working on together with three pleasant American physicists, but I find I wax ever more lyrical. I find increasingly that different voices call and I drift into quiet reverie ever more often.
I was dragged grumpily from my laptop and driven to the suburban outpost of Barnes, some short distance along the river from Fulham, where I have lived off and on for over 30 years. More off than on, since I was always drawn to faraway places and for some years the Alps beckoned.
The Covid Queen (as I call my wife) had called for a visit to her venerable and now ancient parents, and I found myself chatting to my much loved father in law. Leaving my wife to conduct a somewhat circular conversation with my also much loved mother in law. Circular, since sadly age has indeed withered her; my mother in law that is.
But the old boy remains needle sharp and I have only to prod him in the right direction and away he goes; I drift in and out of focus and intervene here and there, where and when necessary, to keep the show on the road.
It was raining and we sat under an awning in the garden, talking through the french doors of their drawing room. Covid Queen has decreed that we must remain outside for their safety, and today soft rain trickled down if not our necks, then somewhere perilously close.
We talked of terns and how 85% of chicks apparently have micro plastic in their stomachs. I thought of Blake and those dark Satanic mills he hated. What would he have made of the ecological disaster we have become.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”
And so we did, for that is what I have always done with my father in law. By the time we returned to our own fashionable suburb, I found a deep calm had come over me. I determined to leave the algorithm a while longer and write a bit. Muse. And seek nature in a lovely 40 acre garden right around the corner.