Archive for August, 2020

The sky above the Charente often looked like this.

Not any more.

These days if I see a single trail in the sky I think “Wow! Look! A plane!” How strange that the world could change so much in such a short time.

I used to look at a sky like this and think “Where is everybody going??!!” I’d wonder where they’d boarded their plane, and where they would disembark. Airports used to be crowded places over-filled with emotional travellers, leaving, arriving, anticipating, worrying……

That’s all changed. It changed virtually overnight. Now the airports have turned into aeroplane parks, with dozens of planes crowding the tarmac. No queues at the Check in counters. No excited huddles of families and friends eagerly waiting the return of loved ones.

Hardly anyone wants to sit, masked, on a plane for hours with dozens of strangers. Conferences, competitions, concerts and celebrations have been cancelled.

Do you think the sky will look this busy ever again? Has mass tourism come to an end? Has Zoom replaced all the conventions and conferences?

Or is it just a matter of time before it will look as if this year never happened?

What do you think?

I think the world is different now. I hope enough of us see that to choose to live differently and to push for real change……with new priorities, new ideas and different ways to organise our societies.

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Often an image becomes a favourite because it’s so surprising. This is one of them. I often notice clouds, usually because of a shape, a shade, or a colour. In this case it’s the sequence which is so unusual. Any single one of these clouds would be pretty unremarkable on its own. Together they look like calligraphy. They look like letters forming a word or ideograms forming a sentence.

When I look at this again it inspires me to think about the importance of both context and sequence. Every experience we have has a significance and meaning which emerges, at least in part, from context and sequence.

I think that explains why we talk about “having a run of good luck”, or, the opposite, having a run of bad luck.

When one of your first experiences of the day is a bad one it can quickly colour the entire day. Same again with the opposite. Which is why it’s a good practice to start the day with deliberate, conscious good experiences – say listening to music instead of “doomscrolling” (the new word for reading bad news stories in your social media feed)

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As the sun light caught the water cascading down from this fountain I crouched down and took this photo. Only later did I see the bird with its outstretched wings.

I’m often fascinated by birds in flight. The buzzards soar so high over the vineyards that they often appear as mere specks in the sky. I’m amazed by how they soar and circle apparently effortlessly riding the invisible currents in the air.

I love to see the swallows chasing each other, diving down to skim the ground, skip round the walls and roofs and just apparently delight in their movement.

Kestrels hover high above the ground wings beating furiously but each bird maintaining a specific position, moving neither left nor right, up nor down, then suddenly plummeting to earth like a stone to grab some unsuspecting prey (how on earth do they see such tiny creatures from such great heights?)

I could go on…..

Watching the flights of birds is liberating. It lifts my spirits, lightens my heart, and inspires me to think about freedom.

It’s almost a definition of life – freedom. Every living creature pursues survival and growth. Sure there are external and internal limits and no living being exists in isolation from others but freedom isn’t about having no limits or no relationships.

Freedom isn’t just about choosing either. Nor is it only about “free will” which some philosophers and neuroscientists doubt.

Freedom, as I understand it, is movement, is change, is the pursuit of survival and development, is the expression of individual uniqueness.

It’s the call of the heart, the call of the soul, the essence of Life.

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