Be here now. It is a mantra because we live in a difficult world. Plans and possibilities, frustrations and desires pile up on us. This screen we peer into sucks us in. Out there, out in the world, is today. I sit with my notebook because the page is immediate; the screen is removed from reality. I sit and watch the way the characters of the world go by. It’s a form of leaving the self, and all its struggles, behind.
I concentrate on the woman and the small child. He’s straining at reins she has him strapped into, like a dog, as she’s distracted by a conversation on her phone. The child pulls and leans and wriggles for some escape. I think what it’s like to be him. I watch the long tree shadows that stretch across the grass. A woman in a fur-brown shawl and hat is laughing. She’s large and bear-like. I feel the winter in my legs, sitting on the bench.
A woman, who may be a witch, stops yards from me. She has her back to me, her long black cloak reaching to her shins. I’m focused just on the ferocious shoes she wears: pointed, heeled, dangerous. I think what can make her choose to wear these precarious improbabilities. The cathedral grounds are quiet, but there’s a constant flow of people not doing anything pressing with their lives. There’s an old man with a stick, dressed neatly, moving carefully. He has secrets here.
I quite forget everything that presses on me as I sit and watch. Be here now, be here now: it is a mantra for writing and for the modern world.