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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Saturday, 26 October 2013
The forest is now, for me, at nearly its most beautiful. Another fortnight and the spectacle will be complete. But it is really too close to our doors for us to appreciate it properly. if we had to walk 5 miles instead of 500 yards in order to get into one of these marvellously picturesque glades, we should think we were exceedingly lucky in being only 5 miles off and not 50.
On the whole a very wet month with , on days free from rain, heavy persistent fogs lasting till afternoon. The sound of voices is very clear in the forest in this mushroom weather. I have learnt a little about mushrooms. I have tremendously enjoyed my morning exercise in the mist or rain. But mushrooming only interests me when the sport is good.
Exposure to the natural world so regularly, leads me to reflect on Mr. Darwin's theory of evolution of species. I am sure he has the right of it. He says at the end of "On the Origin of Species" that, " ... from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Walking in the forest where death and decay are so much in evidence at this time of year, and knowing that life will be renewed in the spring, the wonder of nature is impressed upon the consciousness. Darwin writes about the contemplation of an 'entangled bank' but could, as easily, have drawn his example from this forest where the inter-dependence of animals and plants is clear to see.
In general, slightly too much work. 18,000 words of "Old Wives Tale" in 2 weeks 4 days.
Much tempted to throw up my Italian and my piano, on account of stress of work, but I still stick to both of them.