Thursday, 26 January 2012

Inspired by Bill Bryson on a walk in the woods; a little more on litter

pillow talk © Caroline Fraser 2012

I missed my train to London on Sunday, as I got caught up with my self imposed automated directive to photograph each discarded cigarette packet on my short walk to the station; there were at least seven, along with some papers from the House of Commons 1983 blowing around in the gutter. I picked one up, and then wondered why I had, and put it in the next litter bin. I don't plan to extend this project to include government papers as well as health warnings.

As I strolled I pondered on this mild obsession; I recalled the graduation lecture given to my first born at Durham University a few years ago. It was given by Bill Bryson, who entertained and amused graduates and proud parents alike. He had three pieces of advice for a happy future

  1. Never let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do in life. 
  2. Don't moan; no one likes a moaner.

These words have stayed with me, and I whilst I haven't got involved in the campaign for Rural England's  campaign against litter and fly-tipping that Bill Bryson supports, I do spend a lot of time noticing what people have dropped and feeling concerned that our local woods are full of plastic bottles and sweet wrappers. Local volunteers do a great job  of picking up the litter, led by a delightful man in his late eighties who leads them into battle with his litter picking stick.

I  wonder how long the pink pillow that I found in the undergrowth will remain before someone clears it away. It lies just a few feet from the path, and as I walk with dog, I ponder on how it came to be there, and why the owner didn't want to take it back home again. I imagine creating a story book full of short tales based on the items found on the ground, or a photographic A to Z of found items. Was it an innocent romance, or something more sinister that brought the pillow to its resting place.

fragment © Caroline Fraser 2011

And what about this small fragment of cloth; what story does it tell?

butterfly © Caroline Fraser

Or this pink butterfly that cheered me on an otherwise ordinary day?

Any suggestions for a storyline gratefully received; I am still hoping that a poem might emerge from all of this pondering; but as you can see it is not possible to get bored on a walk in the woods.

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