Like Bill Bryson, I sought a walk in the woods. To my amazement, though, wherever I went I was surrounded by countless acres of cultivated land — row after row of crops. There were no woods, nothing wild as far as I could see and, I thought, even beyond. I felt an epiphany — that the world has been settled by humans for so long that nothing of nature is left. I woke up thinking about The New Penguin History of the World and wondering how cultivated much of the Mediterranean world might have seemed from very early historical times. Subconsciously I knew I would never have Eden.
It was evening, and I went for a drive in my dad’s car. It was a nerve-wracking experience because I had the idea that I didn’t know how to drive (true), nor did I have permission to. The accelerator and brake weren’t pedals as I expected, and they operated in a way I had never seen before and couldn’t master.
When I returned, I took a piece off the brake, perhaps a string, and meant to show it to my dad because it made no sense to me, and I thought he should know about it. I also suspected something important was happening that was beyond my understanding.