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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, September 12, 2003
    The epic view
     

      It is the nature of aerial [views] - because of [their] ability to encompass much from a seemingly omniscient perspective - to tell epic tales ... stories that elide the role of individuals in favor of the action of large, impersonal forces. (Albert Mobilio, Looking Down, in Cabinet, 11, which I read on the train home tonight).
    This is the view from Alison and Martin's Greenwich roof. Under a clear sky, the shining offices of Canary Wharf, the wonderful gigantic Dome and inbetween, a vast sweep of Thames water, calm, quiet, creating stillness in the whole scene. We sat up here at lunchtime today and I'd have been happy to stay there far longer, taking in the scene. Pondering epic views.

    Looking down across the city is one epic view. The other is straddling 'The World's Prime Meridian' in the courtyard of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. 'All time on earth is measured relative to longitude 0, which is defined by the crosshairs of the Great Transit Circle Telescope in the Meridian buildings of the Royal Observatory,' it says on the certificate printed out for me at the time line at 09:40:4881 GMT today.

    The city falls away from your feet at this high point, too. Or maybe, the whole world gathers up to it. It does invite epic views. Like considering, with Albert Mobilio, how humans behave en-mass:
      They build and they destroy. Seen from a bird's path or a god's perch, the human enterprise is so large as to be very small. So detailed as to be exceedingly simple. The aerial view: it provides a peace that passeth understanding.