Inasmuch as we’re the authors of our own lives, I am starting a new chapter in mine. Yesterday evening I realised that not knowing what I’m doing is a blessing, not a handicap. Of course I don’t know what I’m doing! If I did the chapter would already be over.
A new chapter for me now seems about being alive in a different way. I am choosing and refining some fresh priorities on which to base what I do, and how I do it. This could keep me busy for a while….
What I’m aiming at can be summed up in a couple of lines from a recent song…
‘If its not love, then I’m letting it go;
but if it is, fill me to the brim.’
This photo was reputedly taken in 1890. I wonder where it was taken. The donkey and cart, location and picnic basket suggest one thing, but the three people, particularly the mother, look dressed for church or some such.
Such different times…some 24 years before the First World War. Perhaps at that time, one looked ones most chipper at all times, even for a country picnic….keeping up appearances, stiff upper….
I like to think of what simple pleasures they valued and enjoyed back then. What fun to hitch a donkey to a cart, and with a hamper of prepared food and drink, make your way with two companions to a likely spot to enjoy the great outside. There you could eat and drink, talk, sing, play some games, take a nap…
I recently saw a family picnicking in a city park. One child was absorbed in an iPad, the other was playing a game on his father’s phone. Mother was speaking on hers. Only the father seemed aware of his surroundings, gazing idly at the birds, trees and sky….
How deeply distracted we have allowed ourselves to become. We have all, to some extent, become reliant on these extraordinary devices. Surely we would be well advised to severely limit our time on them, treating them as the tools they are, and re-engage more effectively with the world around us, the world to which we really are, physically and spiritually, connected.
The rational aspect of my lifelong curiosity has brought me to really knowing and understanding very little, and so to faith!…mixed with equal parts love and hope. Occasionally in me I’m aware of the endless warm flow that is the relationship between the three. This experience is not something I can conjure up. Its an undeserved gift, given when and for as long as I’m blessed to receive it. I believe this is a glimpse of what connects us all, all of creation, without which this rational journey would not have begun.
In an empty church, with the chairs neatly lined up in anticipation, I wonder about those who will gather there. Some form of faith brings them. Unsure, afraid, wanting reassurance, most of us spend years chasing our tails, seeking some form of solace.
I am encouraged these days to seek a more contemplative life. The rational chatter continues unabated, but slowly I’m learning to let it go, pay it no mind, and rest in an ever deeper part of myself.
Translated literally, the name of this house is High Rock, which is quite the metaphor, isnt it? All shuttered up, with its damp-stained balcony and its forbidding gate, it looks a bit folorn.
I am spending a few days with my dear friend Tina, who lives in her bar that is tucked under a cliff, at one end of the beach, in a little town named Meschers, situated on the mouth of the Gironde river, in the Charente-Maritime area of France.
Yesterday I went for a walk, and as best as I could, I was following the shoreline. ‘Haute Roche’ is on a road that was the nearest I could get at that point. I presume that it and its neighbours enjoy a commanding view of the sea on the other side. Desirable residences all…
I eventually found my way back to the beach and Tina’s Cafe, just in time to behold this…
“…taste and see that the Lord is good…”
Every day, every moment, we can be thankful for God’s glorious creation. I pray, Lord, that I am.
I’m becoming a keen student of city parks. They are so vital in these densely populated, hard surfaced warrens we infest.
The better cities have taken great care to ensure that whatever they are continually evolving into, they include swaths of nature, areas of relative fresh air and quiet. Children can play, couples can woo, dogs can be walked and sometimes let free, old folks can slowly but surely take their daily exercise, joggers can jog, families can picnic, frisbees can be hurled back and forth…..
Especially during the working week, they can seem gloriously underused! So though they are clearly not wildernesses, they can be peaceful oases where nature-at-work predominates.
So today I’d like to thank city planners. Theirs is a profession that borders on the disreputable, as the blame for the dark side of urban dwelling is so often laid at their feet. Yet at some point in the early days of our favourite cities, it was decreed that there would be no unbridled building on these certain plots of land, but rather they were to be left as they are.
In real estate terms, the traders, landlords and vultures of today would be unable to allow themselves such luxury. Can you imagine how much the building land value of Hyde Park, Bois de Boulogne, Central Park and such might be?……….the deal of the millennium!
So thank you for city parks, and thank you to all the birds, beasts, trees, plants, earth, rocks and water for continuing to do what you do!
perhaps it’s the top of a large house, the rest of which is buried underground…
or did it fall off the back of a lorry?…
there’s no writing on it…no forwarding address…no next of kin….
was it there yesterday?…
what are the odds its a perfectly formed rock?…
it has a porous quality, maybe it’s a loofah!…
it doesnt make much of a seat….and there are plenty of benches…
it might be a court for a very singular form of ping pong….
whatever it is, one presupposes its made by humans…
I’m foregoing the extra-terrestrial intelligence option, for now…
so what in tarnation is it?…
answers on a postcard to
lil’ donnie trump,
the rose garden,
the disunited state of america
it probably won’t do any good…
but it wont do any harm either….
might make the postman laugh….
This is a sort of ‘beyond the yardarm’ moment through the window of where I’ve been staying in Fecamp for the last week. I’m going to miss it.
A little harbour town on the Normandy coast with its own unique flavour and history. Once a busy fishing port, and home to some talented boatbuilders, its local economy now relies on tourism and summer holidaymakers.
From walking around some, singing in the street on Saturday morning, going to a couple of cafes, and food shopping most days, who’s to say how I accurately I have gauged the mood? I get a taste of sadness common in many Northern European seaside towns that have outlived their original purpose. But like in many of them, there is also a resilient spirit and quiet wisdom….and plenty of laughter!
Being by the sea is its own reward.
Twice as a child we lived right by the sea, once in Broadstairs, Kent, and once in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa. Then at the time my daughter Ruby was born, in the early 90s, we lived for 3 years a couple of miles from the Devon coast. Now I’d like to be right by the sea again.
My new plan is to find some kind of home, near the sea somewhere. For now, I’ve got a nice rhythm at which my daily life unfolds. And it likes unfolding by the sea!
Tomorrow I leave for Belgium. I may well have yet another new plan next week, but I’m not abandoning this one.
On Monday, I awoke at 2.45am, got myself together, and drove to Dover from Cambridge to get a ferry to Calais. Eschewing the toll paying roads, it then took me several more hours to reach the seaside town of Fecamp, where I am lucky enough to be staying this week.
By the time I got to this street, I’d been battling to stay awake for some 50kms, determined to get there before I took a nap. That’s my excuse…
My destination was less than 200m behind the camera, and I had overshot…so whaddya do? I quickly became stuck, and no amount of wheel spinning was going to get me out. Miraculously, what seemed for a moment the end of the end, turned out to be a heaven sent opportunity to meet the locals….
Within 2 minutes, a small car came down the road towards me. I put on my best traffic cop, and directed the young lady driver through the narrow gap. She then obligingly got out of the car, telephoned her friend, ‘le garagiste’, who 20 minutes later arrived with a tow-truck and had me free and running within minutes.
Did I mention how charming and helpful these 2 people were? And while we waited for the tow-truck, a couple of residents on a walk stopped and kept me company, and 2 other neighbours came along and passed the time of day with much compassionate chin stroking and philosophy. Angels, every one of them….
So thank you Lord. I’d pray that You continue to move in mysterious ways, but I can already depend on it!
‘If we will set our hearts on the discipline of prayer and give up the things that keep us from living wholly dependent on him, we will see God in action, recognize him at work, and have the courage to go out and proclaim his presence with great rejoicing.’
—from the book Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels by Colleen C. Mitchell
When I can, I go out walking. I could say I prefer to walk in remote natural environs, but in truth I just prefer to walk. We are where we are. For me, walking is the most natural state in which to pray. In motion. Just as the universe we are all part if is in motion, evolving and growing…not static.
I’m tired of my inclination to separate myself from reality. Rather, I wish to validate my part in reality, on a moment to moment basis. That is Christ consciousness…walking in love…walking…
Occasionally Jesus travelled by boat. Once he rode on a donkey. Mostly Jesus walked everywhere. He even walked on the water!
At the best of times its not me walking, but rather I’m being walked.
Walk me home Lord, walk me home…..
I’m just launching a new CD of gospel/spiritual songs, ‘I Thank God I’m Alive’.
7 songs, recorded and mixed in my own Tumbledown Studio…all voices, instruments & noises by me…mastered at Kitchen Sink Studios, Santa Fe, NM by my dear friend Jono Manson.
all songs by George Bacon copyright 2017 Cottage Pie Music(BMI)
except for ‘My Heart Is A Muscle’, words & music by Aske Jacoby copyright 2016 (KODA)
for now you can order a copy here https://www.gofundme.com/i-thank-god-im-alive
and I will mail you one…or we can meet in the real world!…online distribution may ensue in time..
as you can see, this is a building site!…there should be more to see each time you visit…always good to see you…