I saw this pile of branches one morning a couple of months back when I was out on a cycle. The orange ends glowing in the damp caught my eye and remained snagged in my memory, a literal log jam in my mind. Passing by again recently I saw the pile of branches was still there but their colours had dulled in the recent hot spell.
Beyond the ditch on which they were heaped was a derelict stone cottage. The house had hardly impinged on my mind over the years. I could not tell you how long it had been unoccupied for.
When the logs drew my attention to it I thought how that would be the perfect little house for me. Set on the bend of a quiet road near a village, backed by a stand of trees which offered protection without swamping it in gloom, it is only a few miles from the sea and a short drive to the nearest city. The more I thought of it over the next days and weeks the more it appealed to me but it was all idle mind chatter as I can’t afford a house.
It seems to me now that it was the very next time that I cycled by that work had begun on renovating the cottage, as if my thoughts had drawn the attention of the universe who decided to take action. The ditches had been cut back and the roof taken off , the windows were knocked out. Vans were parked along the narrow road and hammering figures appeared between bright new rafters and fragrant sawdust drifted in the rutted yard.
The universe though apparently sensitive to idle thoughts is not so fussy about ownership and had joined a soul other than myself with the little house on the bend. Still I was glad to see that the character of the place was being kept.
All of this passed through my mind as I sailed by, becoming more melancholy at the thought of all the things of the world that in their turn sail by me. But maybe I am giving more importance to a passing fancy than is actually there.
Maybe I love the branches for themselves, this tangled, scratchy heap, the round orange suns of their cut ends shining against the wall of trees at their back. It is an image that lends itself well to scratchy ink pens and blobs of watercolour. To focus in on the details is to be in the present and not in some chimerical future. And when we are completely in the present we do not need to delve for meaning in all that we imagine may be passing us by.