Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Things that make me happy; things that make me sad.

A walk with my wife this crisp, autumn morning.  We enjoyed the sunshine and a keen, exhilarating breeze.  It is great living in this part of the world and to be able to appreciate the scenery and wildlife.

We moved to Wales from Wiltshire, where there is a great deal of arable farming; consequently, much crop spraying is carried out there.  The effect of this produces monoculture in the fields and a very restricted selection of wild flowers in the hedgerows and verges.  Here, the land is used mostly for raising sheep and cows.  I can’t recall having seen any spraying in the past six years.  Roadside verges are rich in an abundance of plants and insects fighting for their place in our environment. 

It was fun to find these Oak apples:

Technically they are ‘galls’; outgrowths on the surface of life forms caused by invasion by other life forms.  The oak apple is a mutation of an oak leaf caused by chemicals injected by the larva of certain kinds of gall wasp.  Having just finished The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins it helped my appreciation of being alive.

Looking north, in the far distance, over Cardigan Bay we could see the mountains of Snowdonia.

 I want to share with you a little poem, by Mike D, that I found over on the Flying Ungulates [*] blog:

I can't help but feel a hole where words should be
I would have listened, if you'd only asked
I would have understood, if you'd given me the chance
My love for you was given freely, without conditions
Given because I had it to give, not for what I would receive

I would wait for you again
Hold you while you cried again
Share my dreams with you again
Watch the sunrise with you again
Even if I knew the end

Mike D

In reading this I felt the joy and sadness of a happy relationship now ended. I think it is a beautiful little poem; it pulled at my heartstrings and made me want to cry, “Find her again.  Perhaps all is not lost.”  But, my experience has taught me that real happiness is found in facing reality rather than believing fantasies, holding false hope or dreaming of what might have been; trying to recapture what Robert Browning might have called, ‘the first fine careless rapture’.

Life moves on; life is now; live with it!

 Many children’s lives are profoundly affected by the fact that they have no choice but to provide care for others.   The BBC reports:

“A total of 4,029 pupils from 10 UK secondary schools responded to a questionnaire designed by academics at the University of Nottingham.

The questions asked about both the levels of responsibility young people have in the home, and the types of caring activity they undertake.

Of those who responded, 337 (8%) said they had carried out "personal care" of someone in their home either "a lot of the time" or "some of the time" over the last month.

This includes activities such as helping the person they care for to dress, wash, bathe or shower.”

Throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily solve it, but it seems to me that putting recourses where they are most needed is what a civilised society ought to be doing.  When one considers the finance and effort that goes into something like the maintenance/renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine programme you have to wonder.  How civilised are we really?

[*] Update. 10.12.10  This blog appears to have recently been discontinued.