Apropos of nothing in particular, I recently found a notebook dating from c.1997-2000 containing the first draft of the Pike, notes from a conference in New Zealand, and assorted other scribbles, including the following two fragments.
He was doing something truly astonishing when I first saw him - something that made me love him at once, and resolve to have him for my enterprise at all costs. Yes, he was a marvel rare indeed among the people of my country: someone minding his own business.
I'll tell you about the man, died at his bench at seventy-four, he wasn't making anything special, just keeping his hands moving, keeping the feel of the adze.
The war he saw it coming long before, but it broke his heart.
He'd had his innings, trying to change the world. Standing on street corners, muttering revolution in darkened rooms, teaching, praying, working miracles for the cause -
One of his mates had a falling out, ideological purity, reported him to the authorities. They stripped him for death when the word came - governor's pardon. If something like that won't wise a man up, nothing will.
He was always the first to turn the other cheek - they laughed about it in the end, him and Judas. 'Remember the night you betrayed me to the High Priests?' He'd come over and they'd drink wine together and talk about the old times - nearly blind at the end, old Ish-Kerioth, but never lost the fire in his belly. Poor man, fell down an embankment on his way home one night, broke his neck.