On an overcast day in the suspension after Christmas, I went for a hike at a nearby preserve. The trail has a good deal of uneven ground, rocky hills and steep gullies that challenge the body in useful ways. The only encounter along the way was with a couple of young Indian fellows who called me “sir” and deferred the path to me. There was a young family somewhere that I could hear but not see.
I stopped at the bench on a dock overlooking a pond that I like. I often go there to watch wildlife or to read.
Music: "Habitual Ritual" by Revolution Void
On a path nearby the young family, whom I could still hear but not see, drifted by. A loud boy among them loudly thwaked, with a stick that he must have been carrying, random things that drew his aimless wrath, a tree, a rock, a shrub. The ducks I was watching were startled, momentarily alert, then returned to their patrolling and feeding.
On the hike back I saw what appeared to be the evidence of the boy’s handiwork - among them a sapling mindlessly stripped of its young shoots. I attribute this to juvenile affectlessness. That his parents didn’t rein him in is a bit harder to fathom. But is the boy unlike any other randomly destructive force of nature? An agent of natural selection. But I was glad that he, like any other such force, had moved on.
Last night, in the synchronicity that sometimes occurs to me, I read in Brideshead Revisited: "He was cruel, too, in the wanton, insect-maiming manner of the very young and fearless..."