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Have spent the last few hours wiping away, de-cluttering and destroying what I do not want. The bodies of insects, dead skin cells, droppings, mould, minerals deposited by passing traffic, city grime, dust. Cleaning is also a way to get to know the corners of this space. Now I can make something fresh.

Not that that takes much effort. Even as I clear away the past I’m aware of what new things I am bringing. My own stuff. Bedding, clothes, computer for blogging and webcam. Some alfalfa and wheat grains soaking in water. And at the very least I bring my own body. I am food for so many things. My body itself is a colony. And the food I have brought with me is also attractive to others. I want to put up some barriers of hygiene in order to defend what is mine.

Arriving here in the evening I noticed I was crashing a party. I have some very loud neighbours. As I opened my eyes this morning I saw one of them. It was a jerking shadow crossing the floor by the wall, invisible except as motion. But that motion was distinctively cricket. It seems Andrew Gray’s frog food is pretty difficult to contain. He’s the museum herpetologist. Families of crickets, brought here to be sacrificed, have clearly established themselves in the many crannies and crevices of this Gothic pile. Bloody immigrants.

Until I moved in there have not been many people in the tower. Just hundreds of boxes of plant specimens. Certainly no one has lived here. But that’s not to say there is no life. Some of the impressive fungal growths are like citadels. But I sense that with my warm breath and wetness and fruit and vegetables a new era of life is about to begin. I’m glad it’s not totally sterile. Love for each other requires a tough assertion of boundaries. So I’ve been scrubbing and cleaning my hermitage.

It’s also important for me to have everything in the right place. Perhaps I’m a bit obsessive about this. I can sit and ponder for hours just where a chair should go. To make it more respectable I’ll call it Feng Shui, or Vaastu, or Permaculture. Carlos Castaneda talks about rolling around on a verandah in New Mexico for hours looking for his Power Spot.

(Now I’m remembering my place in this city. Finding Jon Hassel’s beautiful album ‘Power Spot’ in a record shop in Piccadilly. I bought it for the cover. It was a musical revelation. That was over twenty years ago. Piccadilly’s transformed, so have I. The album is exactly the same.)

So I’ve spent hours to-ing and fro-ing in this space, rearranging things, finding views, angles, turning round and round like a dog. It’s important because insofar as I can design my environment it reflects my thoughts. How I arrange things in this space is a reflection of what I think, allows me to think. Indeed as Thomas Merton says ‘if our ideas are not reflected in our actions, we do not really think them’.

Once the physical space is organized, my next task is to organize my time…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Brother James permalink
    28/06/2009 11:28 pm

    Hi I am Brother James a Christian Hermit living just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 40 day and 40 night? well my prayers are with you Gods Speed!! (Which is slow) Want to make this Christian Hermit Monk from Canada a pen pal during your time? It should only take two minutes out of your 1440 minutes a day. I wait in silence for your answer.

    • 30/06/2009 11:52 am

      Dear Brother James,
      Thank you for remembering me in your prayers.
      I would be very happy to be your pen pal. Do you mind if our correspondence is open and inclusive?
      Here on this blog all voices can be heard.
      Hope you don’t mind crowds.

  2. ruth permalink
    30/06/2009 4:01 pm

    Hi Ansuman,

    Tuning into you up in your tower….

    I’ve never really understood the obsession with keeping things that are not ‘alive’ anymore. When I say alive, I guess I mean exactly what you propose to find out about each object – does it still mean something to someone, does someone still care for it? If not, it’s time to let it go, to make space for the new.
    If we followed that principle in our daily lives, we would most likely feel a hell of a lot lighter. She says, looking at all the clutter around her 🙂

    I have never been able to last long inside a museum, it makes me feel very tired – maybe it’s all the weight of the past, locked up in cupboards and vitrines…

    When we let go, things don’t disappear anyway, we only release them to allow them to change into another shape. The minute I buried my mothers ashes in the woods last year, I felt her releasing into the ground, into the minerals, into the water, into the plants and animals around her.

    So, unless someone urgently needs to hang on to the skull for their own reasons (which would be fine too), my vote for the skull would be to release it and allow it to enter the flow of change again. It would be nice to think of a good place to do so, not just chuck it in a bin.

    Meanwhile, happy pondering. I will read your posts.
    Love, Ruth (from Devon – remember the bean sprouts on the windowsill? Was that the first inkling of this project?:-)

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