Monday, 21 January 2013

Walthamstow Marsh - a field study of an inactive imagination

a map of the nowhereabouts of Field Study's Man in E17
I have lost ‘Field Study’s Man in E17’ though this does not mean he (or it) is lost. While I have endured some sleepless nights imagining the field student being swept away by a newly formed brooklet in a dark nook of Walthamstow Forest, it is possible he is well, at large and quite oblivious to the distress he has caused in the mind (mine) he abandoned. I have busied myself this weekend with practical tasks such as helping out at Organiclea’s fruit and veg’ stall at the Hornbeam and, this Sunday morning, I grasped a metaphorical sweet (or dead) nettle and got on with some thinking and planning for this year’s growing season at the allotment. The birds out in the garden pecked at the newly installed feeder filled with nuts and dried grubs while I contemplated the merits of various beetroot cultivars. If there is a causal relationship between thinking about beetroots and birds pecking at feeders then the explanation is likely to be circuitous and demanding of (an) active imagination as advocated by C. Jung:

Perhaps it was the imperative of a Jungian reclamation or retrieval of 'Field Study’s Man in E17', and a field studied rationale for a beetroot-peck link, that caused me to leave the comfort of my centrally heated cloister and make for another ‘Walthamstow’ in the form of a snowy marsh, where to the field student might have wandered in the recent disorientating white out.

ghostly footsteps of Field Study's Man in E17

Could I really hear the steps, from Church Hill, of ‘Field Study’s Man’ getting lost in the slushy expanse of Walthamstow Marsh? I hotfooted down the high street in the direction of the footsteps. It was an action that may have been a tad precipitous for so hot did my booted feet become that, in conjunction with my bulk, I found myself in a perilous predicament upon the ices of the marsh.

A vacant cranium 'ahotfoot' on thin ice

It seemed I was ill booted for a free roaming traipse across the marsh and thus I loitered by a hole that may have been where Field Study’s Man in E17 had disappeared. I associated the hole with an anus and proceeded to lose myself in the intricacies of its form until I found myself walking a less paludal route across the marsh. 

I stood at the edge of the origins of the specious

I encountered a fellow rambler and warned him of the thin ice ahead of him and how, in his boots, I would not go much further. He thanked me for the warning and added, ‘I thought I saw you acting strangely’. I think he might have caught a glimpse of ‘Field Study’s Man in E17.’

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