Last time I visited Hampstead Heath I walked around the Tumulus. I walked around the fence a few times, looking for messages to emerge, some kind of anything to radiate into me. I think it might have. The meeting I had later that day seemed a success, then it turned out to not be, but perhaps that was for the better?
It is not clear what the Tumulus even is. A strange hill on the Heath it could be a grave, or a pile of something or perhaps just a coincidence of nature poking fun. It could also be none of these things or all of them.
There used to be a neolithic settlement not far from here. The place now known as Parliament Hill was that. The house in which George Orwell lived is just around the corner. We used to live not very far from here. What a blessing.
A lot of violence must have happened here at some point. It was either real or imaginary. But it certainly happened or not.
I found a piece of a bone under one of the benches facing south. The bench is anchored with cubes of concrete. Someone carved their name into the seat. I think there was a heart too; a carved one. There might have been plaques on some of the benches here. One or two might have been marked with a call to a family to come forward because nobody knew who was being honoured.
I love coming back to the Tumulus. I wish I could go visit it now. It is one of my favourite places in London. A group of trees on a little hill, surrounded by a fence that keeps most people off, though not everyone.
I have never climbed the fence. Though in my imagination I have. I imagined sitting on top of the little hill and waiting for the sun to emerge somehow. Perhaps through the clouds, or over the highgate hill. But would I be sitting on someone’s grave, a pile of things, a simple hill or all of the above?
I love Hampstead Heath and how it is a piece of land that has managed to convince a community to protect it. I imagined Constable sitting probably exactly where I did and starting to invent the weather service. Orwell also must have sat in the very place where I happened to be. His chest might have hurt. He was probably really worried. Freud likely stared into the distance here, marvelling how brilliant he was on coke. Marx likely stroked his beard and wondered why it feels the way it does. So many people have felt so much, over generations, each one of them an individual and yet also united by the same mortality and the same flow of life through them.
Perhaps it does not matter what is in the tumulus. Perhaps the very existence of the place is the miracle of it.
I walked in circles, stumbling at times. Again and again and again.
It is funny how my brain, just like many brains in many sculls around the world really, keeps trying to find the simple and the easy way to experience or to express. Poetry is called “Dichtung” in German probably not because it protects liquids from mixing with each other but rather because it is like language and thoughts condensed. Funny if poetry were called “Densing” in English.
It does not seem to be in our nature now to create many layers of thought or a complexity that is beyond our understanding.
We just assume that everything is run by some simple formula. Be it for eating, thinking or hating.
What’s wrong with the inexplicable? Why do we worry about the chaos so much?
We know so little and see so little and understand so little.
How liberating would it be to just admit that to ourselves. Instead of placing some flag on some real or imaginary hill. And then shout from it. Why?
Perhaps it’s the desire to overcome the edges of life. (Autocorrect wrote ashes, and that’s equally interesting). Perhaps the thirst for power has something to do with it.
An older lady with a dog just walked by. “Einfach schönes Plätzchen“. I agree.
A simply beautiful little spot. Though Plätzchen also means Biscuit or Cookie in German. And perhaps that has a good reason too.
I am not in London or on the Heath at the moment. Instead I am on a bench overlooking a wild side arm of the Main river in Frankfurt. A barge just passed in the main stream, but it is more quiet where I am. I am staring at an island that is closed to humans. Behind me is a large field that is also a flood plane. In front of me are a cormorant and some swans. I saw a kingfisher here recently. But not now.
It’s November. The colours are changing. Trees are getting ready for another winter. Another line will be drawn in their wood.
The waves from the ship are gently moving around in the side arm now. Echo of a machine that is on its way towards some place of commerce.
I can hear birds. But the planes landing in Frankfurt are louder. The cars in Offenbach are also noisy enough to be here in my head.
It’s All Saints’ Day today. I will light some candles on my mother’s grave. It’s a simple place above the surface. I am sure it is a good place underneath.
Enough of that thinking for now. Perhaps I should imagine that while I am walking back, I am walking around the tumulus.
Or maybe I can imagine that I am just walking towards an edge or some ashes or a biscuit.
It’s quite astounding how beautiful everything can be.