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Monday, May 9, 2016


Eagle Nebula’s 'Pillars of Creation'

“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”  C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Heath Ledger

... would have been 37 yesterday.

atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Saturday Night Thoughts

In a few months I'll be sixty-five, which is all sorts of .... interesting.  I was talking to my best friend from when I was sixteen just now, and we were wondering what happened to our lives.  Fifty years, nearly, have gone by from those days when we were filled with hope and our whole lives lay ahead of us.  We believed passionately that we would make the world a better place, that we would make our mark somehow, that we would have happy lives.  Yet here we are, both of us, just a few months away from being able to go on the old age pension.  Him a widower, me arthritic and in pain.  Both of us much poorer than we'd hoped.   And with so little done.  The world has gone on, indifferently.

I can't say I haven't had a good life.  By comparison with some I've in fact had a wonderful life.  The grief which pressed so heavily on me a few years ago has lifted.  I shan't forget my friend Henrik, or my parents or my father-in-law, but the agonising grief of their deaths has hardened into a scar.  You can call that "healing" if you want.

I still miss my little dogs horribly, though.  Their love was so generous and forgiving, so un-judgemental.  Sometimes I think of them and I find myself weeping.  I wonder that God -- or whoever orders these things -- should acquiesce in such suffering.

Really, I shouldn't  complain.  I have enough to eat, shelter, books and music, a loving family.  I live in a safe country, with a decent welfare system, my health is tolerable.

All the same I still can't get my head around the terrible grief and loss we humans must endure, of how you will suddenly be ambushed by a random memory which leaves you weak with sorrow, of how happiness is always tinged with remembrance.  The other night I dreamt of the little dogs, all asleep on the bed, and was overcome with grief to wake and find it wasn't true.

Bizarrely, despite my grief and memories, I am also sometimes intensely happy. Without reason or logic.  Happy, just because.  I know that if I examine the cause it will flutter off, so I don't.  It's a sort of blind happiness, owing nothing, so far as I can see, to circumstance.  A divine pat, perhaps?

Did my parents suffer this angst too?  And theirs before them?  It seems to be something that the  young don't feel, perhaps because they haven't suffered grief like we oldies have.  Or maybe they do too.  I can't remember it, in myself, when I was young and brash.  But then, the young are so self-centred. Or at least, I was.  Perhaps it is precisely this grief that makes you fully human.  I don't know.  The happy certainties of sixteen have vanished.

Even the old aged pension is an oddly mixed blessing.  It means I'm entering that last stretch of life, the slow curve downwards, the decay.  I find myself forgetting things and wonder, is this it?  Only I can't forget the things I would like to.  God has a sense of humour.  A very black one.

It's bedtime, now.

A la prochaine, mes amis.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Catalan Police Couple Marry in Full Uniform

Despite reaction and hostility by the rabid right, despite fulminations by the church, things are steadily changing for the better.

This charming report of two Catalan policemen getting married in uniform will warm your heart, and make you feel better all day.  Note the tweet from the Catalan police's official Twitter account congratulating the couple.

And who doesn't like a man in uniform?