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Ignorance is bliss

In the handmade gaps within everyday-life, I’ve recently been in Africa, both ancient and modern.  I’ve been escaping into another world created by Wilbur Smith.  I’ve read most of his books, OK they may be a tad shallow but hey they’re entertaining and exciting.  (I s’pose his reads are rather like a dream, detailed and gripping, but without sub-conscious / substance…  I had a corker last night, but that’s another story).  I am still away with the pharies but hope to finish this current dalliance soon.

While commuting recently, passions were again stirred (*trying to not get agitated again*) by other road-users’ *@%”$* ignorance.  As you’re probably aware it was recently very foggy –  the number of vehicles without lights on at 8am on fog-bound country roads was ridiculous!  Combine that with people driving while speaking on handheld phones, again on fog-bound country bends – ignorant!  I’m not going to get into the 5% of vehicles that don’t allow due-room for cyclists while passing them – inconsiderate and dangerous.  Unless I’m mistaken, ignorance is a key trait here.
I have recently been pricked by the proverb “ignorance is bliss” and (again) the idea of “opiates” (in the sense of anything that causes dullness or inaction or that soothes the feelings).
Indeed, we all too readily ignore that which is beyond our perception or conception. We all enjoy a moment of bliss?
I believe the phrase “ignorance is bliss” originates from eighteenth-century poet Thomas Gray’s “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College”  where he plays with ideas of innocence and adulthood…   “Where ignorance is bliss, / ‘Tis folly to be wise.’”
Other learned quotations:
“The happiest life consists in ignorance, Before you learn to grieve and to rejoice.”
“From ignorance our comfort flows, The only wretched are the wise.”
“Since knowledge is but sorrow’s spy, ‘Twere better not to know.”

I find that music, food, art, knowledge and other opiates  (as well as coffee and cheese) can all be stimulating and creative, however they can also act as a distracting eclipse and induce ignorance.

The ignorant might excuse themselves with the notion of innocence?

Ignorant? innocent? bliss? contentment? enchantment? joy? beatitude? well-being…

Heaven help us all!?

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‘Birdsong’, ‘The Tree of Life’ and ‘April Fool’s Day’…

Love, life and the futility of trying to own your love, your life…

‘Birdsong’, ‘The Tree of Life’, and ‘April Fool’s Day’… 

Well what can you say? That’s why art exists to hint at what it’s hard to say or hard to truly conceive of.

BirdsongBBC,

I read ‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks a good few years back now while quite ill and dosed up on strong pain killers – the experience was far more intense as I was just laid-up in bed and ‘living the read’, I recall that the drugs just made it all the more vibrant!

As you  might expect, the book differed, was much more intense and the story was much more involved than the TV adaptation.

One of the whisps* that I took away was the constant juxtaposition of hell and heaven. In many ways it played with loss and ownership, freedom and control, heaven and hell etc… and of course passion. Personally I did not engage with historical detail however the resonance of the tragedy of war rang very loud. (When the film ended and minutes later the BBC news showed explicit reportage film of current war elsewhere in the world, life did momentarily seem ridiculous and hopeless!

For me, amongst other things, alas it was about love, life and the futility of trying to own your love, your life…

The Tree of Life

I watched ‘The Tree of Life’ the night before and I guess that’s coloured my wondering…

‘The Tree of Life’ starts and ends with a mysterious, wavering light/flame flickering in the darkness. It seems to be underpinned with a quote: “people must choose to either follow the path of grace or the path of nature”. Again I felt it was juggling freedom and control, choice, construction and creation…

It represents nature/creation against man’s efforts and constructions. It juggles gentleness with strictness, and wonder with discipline.  It represents memory and relationships.

Again I come back to love, life and the futility of trying to own your love, your life… ?  amongst other whisps*:

April Fool’s Day

Merge the above with my recent reading of ‘April Fool’s Day‘ by Bryce Couretnay.

I can’t can’t comment much on this read – it’s seeped into my being – but was an amazing read.

I recall the quote ‘…more than the heart, the bowel, the knee joint… …more than flesh and blood…” 

Courtenay has been a  favourite author of mine since reading “The Power of One” in my 20s. Poor film, great singing, great Book.

“April Fool’s Day” is an altogether different read; a true and rich account that naturally still emits the character of BCs world. In the end, love is more important than everything and it will conquer and overcome anything. Bryce’s son Damon Courtenay died on the morning of April Fool’s Day. In this tribute to his son, Bryce Courtenay lays bare…

Quite unlike any book I’ve read before!

Again I hear whisp*ers of love, life and the futility of trying to own your love, your life… ?

*whisps – my intangible and imponderable but pervasive semi-thoughts… ish…

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I was lost, but now am found

“I was lost, but now am found” said my banana.
(pronounced in the Cornish manner ba-na-na, with the ‘a’ as in jam)

The mystery of the lost banana was solved this morning, as mid-commute I spotted it lost and forlorn on the wayside. It must have dropped out of my pannier yesterday!  I got to work convinced that I packed it and was baffled by its desertion.

I muse that:

We guide our baggage through both well and less travelled pathways…

We believe that we packed the baggage, we control the tiller… and know the map…

We are ‘guided’ by soft hegemony and cultural info-tainment…

But still our banana’s can fall from our backpacks and confound, amaze and hopefully cause us to reassess our predicament?

However, I am still blind I see.

PS. Today’s banana was energizing.

15-facts-you-probably-didn’t-know-about-bananas

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A shark and a seal! Did you see this?

Did you see this on the BBC TV?
I sat there jaw dropped and had to replay it half a dozen times – quite stunning!

Felt I had to share it again… it speaks volumes.
(watch it FULL SCREEN with the sound DOWN, we don’t need Attenborough mumbling on)

Which way would you go? And why?

On my commute yesterday, reluctantly, I had reason to take another trip through suburban leicester rather than my usual rural route, as the crow (or barn owl) flies.
You’ll be aware of my previous reaction to the experience of this specific suburban cycling route.  However, having ridden this route again, I still have the same opinions…
But I was led to think….


In life generally, I guess it’s my nature to generally take the easier more pleasurable option. Surely would it not be madness not to?

My usual choice, is relatively comfortable; I enjoy flowing familiarity with negligible hurdles and man-made encounters. It is raw, spatial and rich in the spirit of something ‘natural’ (?)… It’s relatively smooth and takes me where I intend to go… skirting intriguing worlds and lives with little incident… yes, it does have has it’s unforeseen encounters but it’s a an enjoyable option.

An alternative choice is a way populated with life in abundance. Much of what you’ll find is in either in need of care and attention, badly designed, or both. It’s past is evident, daily life and common culture are stamped on walls and faces. You’ll encounter raw humanity… ‘warts and all’, but also what you find is rich in living lives, both sweet and sour.

Do Robert Frost’s thoughts apply? Challenge? Avoidance? Survival? Common Sense?


Which way would you go? And why?

Sunrise Sunday, ultimately faulty?

Woken this morning by a poorly daughter – (barking like a seal on silk-cut). Bless her, she’s suffering this weekend. Calpol and ‘stuff’ are hopefully doing their thing.
So a bedtime cuppa for the wife and ‘Milkshake (5)’ for t’other little lady, and off out on the pedals for an hour. The outing was briefly awesome!

After a twittering with Martyn Joseph last night (sorry Wales – gutted for u!) I’ve booked some tickets for Nov. It’s been 5+ years since I saw MJ after probably 20+ years of seeing him at least once a year!
So I stuck an album on the pod which for the last few years sat collecting dust. The old MJ stuff has just not been resonating in the last few years, even a bit of a turn off… I’ve been on a different track recently.
This morning some of his offerings did again almost ring with recent recovering thoughts and feelings.
Can’t sum up the experience save to say the ride was bracing. 3°C, 8.30am, rabbits, pheasants, birds of all kinds but notably buzzards. We have what must be a family (4 or 5) that live nearby and this morning one joined me on my ride for a minute. It soared over the hedge and followed me along the road for 20-30 seconds before circling a field and perching in a roadside tree – oh I wish I had the Lumix, alas the HTC wasn’t up to the job.
At the moment I’m tentatively reading ‘The Shack‘, a library angel put it in my hand! (Another story). I’ll report back if i survive it.
I’d like to list the other cultural material that’s popping and fizzing at the mo. but can’t think. Let’s just say stuff’s simmering and I occasionally get a whiff of something stimulating… we’ll see… hope it doesn’t boil dry.
Highs on the ride this morning were utterly ecstatic; I find myself laughing out loud as I reach a summit or simply a hint of epiphanic ‘life’; we then roll back down to norms and onward…
My only concern at the mo is that ‘glory’ goes to my perception of seemingly ‘natural’ phenomena while I avoid the death and natural ‘fall’ also abundant around us. I rejoice over ‘life’, and it seems it’s the ‘human’ interference and conceptions that fail and mar the outlook.  Nature is a harsh if beautiful thing, I wonder if humanity can be beautiful as well as harsh and ultimately faulty.



Natural – Human?

Joy!

Joy! Warm and satisfying? Cool and fuzzy?

We made time today just to chill – we took ourselves and the kids to Bradgate for a stroll. Just walking in the fresh air was a great tonic against the noise of ‘daily stuff’.
With the kids it can be* easy to make any simple thing into an adventure (*given opportunity – but that’s another story). An unplanned portion of cake and a coffee helped halfway round!
Just sitting watching how the kids are growing into little people with ideas and characters of their own is grounding. Emma asked “can you see the deer?!” and P said “yes, I need a beer!” (not sure where that came from).
The clarity of the autumnal sky is striking. The seasonal adaption of nature; shrinking, slowing, fading – the moderation from the ornamentation of summer can be cleansing.
Back home we had a quick look back at some home-movie of A&P from a few years back and were reminded of the miracle of growth, and the blessings of shared experience.
Perhaps it’s difficult to summarise feelings of joy? It’s seems to be not an objective incident but a fleeting human feeling or thought that can either be embraced or ignored? Let’s just say; if you hear a breath, absorb it; if you see a wisp, grab hold of it; if you receive anything, share it, somehow!
Joy and life will not last – if it’s real, then after blooming, it may well eventually relax and rest back for a new awakening with someone else, at another time, in another place.
The tides of Mount’s bay and a private Camelot will always come and go, at least in my mind they will. It’s miraculous how they can be ‘felt’ over high fields in Charnwood. Count your blessings, name them one by one…

My only concern is that this joy seems a selfish experience, and is often not shared with others. That’s what’s missing… I feel that light, when kept to oneself is not true light but darkness. If it cannot be seen then it will not rejuvenate, it may as well die.
Ooops slipped, this post was intended to be a positive post.
Had a good walk amongst blue sky today! Hope you have too.
Happy days!