Friday, 31 July 2015

The Cloud of unknowing.

You jolly nearly didn’t have a blog this week.

I am extremely cross with myself, but the other morning, Wednesday, on my way to the bathroom for the first time that day, I completely lost balance. In trying to regain it I managed to crash into one door frame with my left hip, then into another with with my right arm before ending up on the floor. Apart from the fact that I am now so stiff I can hardly walk it is yet another reminder that as we get older a fall can have terrible consequences. This time I was lucky and I shall now try to take more care. I am pretty certain that these sudden losses of balance are as a result of the cocktail of drugs I am presently swallowing.

It has, or course, slowed up work on the companion. I have now finished all the Country pages bar one (Indian Summer) and I had rather hoped to see that finished this week so that I can get on with the next section: the characters. Whether or not these will be in the form of family trees or not I have yet to decided but I do know that it gets very difficult keeping track of them all. I am hoping that there will be a bit of very clever technology that will enable me to do what I want.

It is nearly seven o'clock on Thursday evening and I am lying on the bed in my dressing room looking over a blue sky, framed on the left by the huge oak tree in our garden and at the bottom by a fir tree and a flowering fruit tree (I think not a cherry) the other side of our neighbours' cottage and of that all I can see is the chimney with some new cowls fitted recently. It hasn't taken long for both crows and gulls to use these little domes as an excellent look-out. I use this as a day bed when I can't get around as I feel the change of view - and atmosphere - is good for me.

The window faces due south so the sun is shining brilliantly on the cumulus clouds that are constantly forming and reforming (while some are just dissolving until nothing is left) as they move gently from right to left pushed by a fairly gentle westerly wind. According to the Cloud Appreciation Society, the average life span of a cloud is no more than eleven minutes. I am sure they are right but there is one near the horizon that has been entrancing me for over twenty minutes. I know, I know - eleven is an average. This fellow had been subtly changing his shape and the valleys and hills are being wonderfully lit by the sun now dropping to the horizon. What a way to end the day.

I wonder how many people have heard of this society? The first time I came across then they had decided that they had discovered a new type of cloud and the were trying to have this acknowledged by the authorities. In this they succeeded but more to the point they produced one of those documentary films that combine great charm, are visually stunning (in this case the actors were the clouds) and leave you feeling that the world isn’t such as bad place after all. You are also left feeling that the actors were the clouds) and leave you feeling that the world isn’t such as bad place after all. You are also left feeling that those who run the society are nutters – very nice nutters, but nutters all the same.

I started with the title, 'The Cloud of Unknowing' because I knew I would want to come back to it. It was first written in the middle ages (the writing rather suggests the late 1400's) but as to who wrote it, we shall never know. It was the first known guide to contemplative prayer. There are many books offering various translations and takes on the subject but it is one of those that will go on attracting people to add to that group of somewhat esoteric Christian thought.

I have found God in many places and very rarely in a church but there are some among us who who do make a connection using the sort of contemplative prayer outlined in The Cloud of Unknowing.