Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Over the weekend I attended a rather wonderful wedding in the New Forest. In some ways it was a reminder of how weddings used to be before the growth of the 'wedding industry'. A group of relatives and friends gathered for a simple ceremony before going to the pub for the reception. The pub was old with low ceilings and oak beams and outside, all around, were the trees of the forest, fresh green with the new growth of leaves, and soft with the mist of rain that had just stopped. All was continuity: a wedding, a new beginning, celebrated in a place that had seen many such celebrations through the generations, in a landscape that had retained its character for hundreds of years.

In the ceremony there had been two readings. One was a poem by John Donne, the other a poem by a Buddhist poet. As I looked out at the trees I thought of Buddhist verse.

It is difficult to cover the world in leather but if two feet can be shod then the task can be accomplished.

How many times had these paths and roads been covered in leather? I saw myself running, covering a small part of the world, leaving little trace, part of a history of animals and people who had covered the same ground. Again I saw continuity.

Continuity is not a reason for running but, if you do run, it is one of its characteristics. You are doing what your ancestors did, what you were evolved to do. You pass through the landscape one run leaving little mark but over time paths are worn. You follow the paths of those who had gone before.

Looking at the trees of the New Forest and remembering my runs through the woods of Ashridge it was undoubtedly a romantic notion. But if you cannot entertain romantic notions when at a wedding, when can you?

P.S. the quote is only approximate. I have an atrocious memory for verbatim quotes. In this case I could not check the wording as I did not catch the name either of the poet or the title of his poem

1 comment:

londonjogger said...

what a lovely afternoon read your post was ...