Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Crown of Thorns
Since I retired in June I've read nothing at all serious, and have been so busy-busy that I feel I've neglected thought and meditation in favour of action. Here, I've rediscovered space - mental space and physical space. The TV is so poor and so broken by advertising that I have not the slightest desire to watch it. There is time to go to bed early - and there is time to read. I've been reading Ivan Mann's thoughtful book "A Double Thirst" on our response to suffering, and I've been allowing the silence to soak into me and still all surface thought. The results are exciting and challenging.
However, at the same time I'm aware of the woman in the next-door house. She plays loud pop music all the time she's at home. The endless repetition of the pounding beat is maddening. Her dog barks a lot. It's as if the silent hills and the noise of crickets in the long dead grass beyond the garden are perhaps too much for her. I'm very aware of this essentially northern European culture sitting in the middle of this sparsely-populated land, where the buzzards swoop over the empty hills and the thorn bushes tear at the intruder. This neighbour shuts out the silence with electronic rhythm.
We've lost much of this silence. True, you can walk all afternoon in Argyll and see no-one, just as you can here. But the sense of being alone in the desert takes me back to a time and a place I never knew - and yet a place which is familiar and necessary.
There are more usual photos on Flickr - you can see them be clicking on the one shown here. But this one is special.