In my field of view they’ve been building a sprawling conglomeration of flats. They’re probably called ‘apartments’ in the brochure. In order to make space for the accompanying garden, they have bulldozed a small community square and a brick-walled astroturf football pitch. The bulldozer scraped up and down the pitch like a lawnmower designed for Texans, tearing up the pitch in front of it. Although you knew it was artificial turf, your eyes still couldn’t overcome the awful feeling that the very skin of the earth was being sliced off.
Now they’ve been chopping down, and up, some trees close to me. At this time of the year the trees are bare, of course, but they’re still very obviously healthy. Seeing them cropped to nothing so quickly and simply is almost thrilling in its wrongness. A machine with a sort of vertical buzzsaw on the front grinds at the stump for about half an hour, and then even that is gone.
I’m left with a sense of vertigo: either I or the world have been mauled and some subtle balancing of the world has been changed. I find myself wanting to tip my head sideways as a frail attempt to compensate, to correct the gravity of the situation.
Is it really that the change of landscape has affected my sense of balance, of where the weight of the world around comes to rest? Or is it purely a visual trick, that more light is unexpectedly now coming from one part of the sky? Which sense is confusing me like this?
I suspect it’s the sense of loss.