Friday, 26 December 2014

Boxing Day Thoughts

Christmas morning and we awoke to a bright sky just a little before sunrise. Marcia went downstairs to make her early morning tea and my coffee – she has been doing this daily since I hit the buffers instead of our usual turn-and-turn about. I shall try to repay her when I am better.

Anyway, she returned just as the sun was rising and the light on the field and hedge outside was truly wonderful: we are so incredibly lucky to have this just outside our window. No sooner was Marcia back in bed than she spied a fox wandering along the hedge line. What a way to start Christmas Day!

The white Vinca that covers a low wall just outside the sitting room in full bloom when I took this picture on Christmas Day and the sun was shining. Today, sadly, it is gloomy and raining and cold.
I was up quite early (well, compared to how it has been in recent times) and decided that it would be good to go for a potter around the garden. The sun was bright and there was not a breath of air so, despite a thermometer reading of eight degrees centigrade (that's about forty-six in Fahrenheit), it was really warm but what was astonishing was that so much was in bloom. I mean, here we are in the depths of winter and there are all these plants behaving as though it was a mild early autumn day. I have no idea what is going on with the world's climate but I am sure of one thing – something is!

The Vinca was not alone: these Violas are still filling one of the borders with colour and, astonishingly, some of the Lobelia we planted back in May is also still in flower albeit by no means at its best.
The other evening, Marcia and I revisited the first part of a documentary called The American Future, a History – written and presented by Simon Schama who is, in my opinion, one of few historians who can take almost any subject and make it riveting (unlike others I will not name who can take the most fascinating of subjects and make them so, so dull!). In this part, he explains how the belief that man has it within his ability to exploit the planet without limits – what you might describe as the American dream – hit the rocks when nature bit back with the great storms in the 1930's which turned the wheat lands of the mid-west into an arid dust bowl as the wind blew away soil that had been anchored for many thousands of years by the roots of the prairie grass that had been ploughed up to create this new farmland. Furthermore, it became obvious that, especially further west, water was being used more quickly than it was being replenished. This DVD was produced about eight years ago but I suspect things are much the same today as they were then. The main difference is that we really should now know better.

There are lessons here for all mankind – not just those in the US. If humans go on over-exploiting the resources of our planet we have only ourselves to blame if we end up with a habitat that can support us no longer.

I'm not quite sure what led me to talk about that. Perhaps it seems to me very apt that at this time of the year when many of us celebrate the birth of Christ that we remember that there is so much more to life, the universe and everything than we can possibly grasp even though we are surely capable of reaching far further than most of us try.

With that thought in mind may I wish you all a wonderful 2015, a year in which I hope you are able to fulfil some of your dreams and reach some of those stars that have so far proved to be outside your reach.