I was reading an article today about ‘pop-up’ philosophy. A professor decided to take some deck chairs to busy spots in London and invite people just to sit and think. Sitting and thinking is a rarity these days, or so it seems. Her experiment was not successful, or perhaps it was. I decided to sit outside in the grass and think.
I lay on my back and looked up at the infinite blue, cloudless, unmarked. A small aircraft flew by. A piece of white fluff flew by, high up. More fluff flew by. Flies flew in circles in amongst the leaves of the plum tree in whose shade I was lying. I wasn’t doing much thinking. The grass was soft against my back, the blades cut by my husband this morning meaning that the clover I was so looking forward to smelling had already been beheaded, but the shorter grass was more comfortable, less shard-like. I felt the bumpy ground beneath my back, it was hard to get into a completely comfortable position. My back ached. If I looked at the sky sparkly lights began to spin in my eyes; the sun was bright. I was not thinking.
I turned onto my front and watched a tiny fly for a while. It was resting on the remains of a dandelion leaf. It was in the middle of the leaf, in the crease of the broader body, and now and again it would pop up to the edge as though to see what was out there, and then it would go back inside. It was like a child peeping out from a safe spot and it was fun to watch it pop up and pop down, it’s silvery, shiny body glinting in the vivid sun. Then it flew off and I examined the clover to see if I could find a four leafed one, but I couldn’t. I had forgotten how the three-fronded leaves had inner white rings, like a stain and I fingered them lightly and felt the coolness, the softness of the leaf soothing on my hot fingers. I was not thinking about much of anything.
I saw something fly overhead and land on a nettle leaf, so I went to investigate. It was a grasshopper or a cricket, I don’t really know how to tell them apart, but whichever it is it is the second of its kind I have seen in the flesh in my whole life and I moved into a position where I could see it properly. It was pressed against the leaf, holding on carefully, and its abdomen was pulsing and then something emerged from it and I guessed it was an egg, or I hoped it was, and I watched the grasshopper/cricket awhile longer, but thought its abdomen pulsed and I could see it opening and closing, and despite the way it grasped the leaf at times as though it was in distress, nothing else emerged and then it left and all that was left was a single, brown, elongated object that I hoped was an egg. I still wasn’t thinking about anything in particular except, perhaps, the grasshoppery thing, the egg-like thing, the softness of the grass, the flies buzzing, the smell of hot air and how lovely it is to sit out in the garden for a while and see what happens.