A number of frustrations today. A terrible sense of barrenness after sitting with a table of dry, logical men over dinner and breakfast at Brockwood. Not a moment of heart and soul between the lot of them, The Krishanmurti Centre may be a haven of peace but from what I experienced it encourages people who are disconnected from what is going on anywhere but in their heads.
I also carry a residue of difficulty left over from my stay in Southampton; I found it difficult to not be staying with transitioners, a very different quality of experience.
I began the day’s journey in frustration, at odds with my environment. The staff don’t know where anything is outside the protective pod of the centre. I wonder too if I am still struggling after spending time in a car yesterday. It’s a very disorientatihng experience after being accustomed to walking everywhere and coming upon things in your own rhythm.
By the time i get lost at Peake Farm I am upset and tearful. I am also aware that I’m really OK too, just needing to release some emotion, I turn around, shed a few tears, return to the farm and meet a couple; they are lost too. We are able to help each other and I set off on my way again feeling much better.
I am on Monarch’s Way; I read that this was the 615 mile trail Charles II took on his escape from the battle of Worchester in 1652.
I arrive at Winchester hill fort – it feels somehow homely. I feel good in the environment for the first time today. I wonder if all the land before this was all part of one estate. I felt bad; a controlling unconnectedess to nature there. Peake farm is horrid; they train horses for show jumping. A beautiful young white horse rears up in terrror at my passing , settling only when he realises I am not coming for him. I wonder how they train their horses and remember Simon in Exeter telling me about the methods used for breaking horses.
I spend most of the morning hating East Hampshire farming. It is souless. It’s all about money; no heart, no love, only control. You barely see a soul, yet there are huge expanses of cultivated land, horses, cattle, crops, fields lying fallow, paddocks, and the occasional wealthy looking farm. I am reminded of the huge tracts of land in Brazil owned and farmed by the rich whilst the poor scrabble for existence in the favellas of the cities where they have been driven, and I think of all those people squashed in between the motorway and the port to the south of here…
There is a huge division here and it feels all wrong. After Winchester Hill, inhabited more than 3000 years ago when things were different, Buriton village where I spend the night in an inn is the next real place – and it is some 10 miles distant!
I pass a dreadful place; Mercury Park. It is a whole little housing estate, totally deserted, surrounded by high barbed wire fence the like of which is normally only seen in war films, and full of red and white striped high security gates keeping people out. There is a conservation centre opposite offering accommodation. Personally I’d feel safer sleeping out under a tree. There are plans to turn the site into a residrential housing complex – I hope it doesn’t happen – the inhabitants would have horrible nightmares! I wonder if it was a mock up town used by the army to practise on – all the windows are blacked out and there are hardly any doors. I read later on the internet that this was a prehistoric site, with many periods of history having been discovered there, but more recently; used by the navy! The most forboding and sinister things I have seen on this walk have all belonged the military.
The South Downs Way itself is beautiful, and easy walking. I’m puzzled by the indicators that describe it as a tough path; not after the coastal paths of Devon and Dorset it isn’t! Paths are wide, flat, well marked and avoid steep gradients. Walkers’ paradise!
I am beginning to enjoy myself when I hear the road, and continue to hear it for the last 2 hours of my journey. It is visible too for at least an hour, cuttin right through the middle of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park – dreadful dual carriageway laden with vehicles – it seems like it has been planted there by an alien invasion. What with the vapour trails lying across the previously clear blue skies from the first aeroplanes, the noise of helicopters and low flying aircraft, humankind is making sure its presence and domination over the environment is both seen and felt. One of my companions over breakfast said that an archaeologist, when asked what evidence would remain of our society in 1000 years, said coke cans and aeroplane runways would be found.
I find myself wishing I had the right, as a member of the human race, to ask that we stop, look, and listen, to review what impact we are having on the world. Are we not after all a democracy, do we not have freedom of speech? And yet, these things continue.
It’s been a day of frustrations. Frustration that my voice is not sufficient to prevent the harm we cause our environment moment after moment, day after day, year after year.
Terrified horses, broken to serve us as entertainment, frightened sheep, protective of their lambs, machines in the sky disturbing the climate (there’s a haze on the horizon today that hasn’t been there since the aeroplanes were grounded), machines in the farms, leaving fallow fields looking like they are straight out of a Sci Fi film of a dead planet, machines running on roads gouged out of the landscape, and the noise reverberating across the countryside over miles, and miles, and miles.
I haven’t seen a thing all day that reflected our good stewardship. I am ashamed. I miss transition folk!