Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday morning observations

" The modern, western, world" said Tom " is in a continual state of low-level grief."

We mulled. The pace of change, the need for novelty, is such, we decided, that as soon as we have one thing, it is snatched away from us, and we are flooded with new information and new stimuli we must adjust to, with no time to grieve for what's gone, or even to recognise that we are grieving. So we live with a yearning, a sense of something missing that we can't account for.

" Take the news," he went on " no sooner are you told one story, involved with it, than it's not news any more. You don't hear any more about it, it's left unresolved."

We pay a price to allay our fear of boredom. We could not, we think, go back to the time out elderly friends and neighbours regret the passing of, say was better and kinder, when you mostly stayed in the same place, saw the same people, did and talked about the same things, ate the same food,kept up the same round. That very sameness, the stasis, would, we feel, drive us mad, and many of them couldn't wait to get to Paris anyway, either through economic or educational necessity, or simple restlessness. But have we confused movement with meaningful journeyings?

" It was ever thus," I counter " people have always been confounded by change, beset by loss. Perhaps it's just the human condition."

'All is flux, nothing stays still,' and

'All standeth on change, like a midsummer rose.'

" And anyway," I added " in the old days, people died more."

The goldfinches are suddenly gone, I realise, as I look out at the chestnut tree, just in this last day or so, after a few brief weeks of nesting. As with the mistle thrushes which set up last year in the laurel hedge right next to the house, I didn't see the going of the young ones. For the space of a day, dawn till dusk, the parent thrush called and chivvied persistently perched above the nest, then all was silence and stillness. Similarly I was aware of the adult goldfinch on the swaying, springing twigs around the ivy-clad trunk where the nest was, tseeing softly, drawing more attention to itself than previously, but seeming to make no further effort to enter it. Now the frenetic comings and goings to the sow thistles have all ceased, and with the bullfinches likewise. Unlike the sparrows, robins and blackbirds, but as with the thrushes, they don't appear to stay around human habitation with the young - the baby blackbirds are a worry and a heartache at this time of year - but are gone away to the fields and hedgerows.

No more excuses; we can pull up the sow thistles now.


Granny J said...

All news is unresolved -- and at my age, I discover that much of what is called "news" is what I heard yesterday and ten years ago and ten years before that. Perhaps that is why in the G.O.D.(Good Old Days), before newspapers were created on the computer, the composing room always kept an extra-sized headline type on reserve, called the 2nd Coming Type, just in case. All the remainder were interchangeable.

apprentice said...

I think life remains largely unresolved, it's just that we keep looking for a resolution, which just winds us up all the more. i blame bedtime stories, who lives happily ever after?

And if you live or work long enough everything comes around again.

I used to put faxs marked urgent in a drawer for two days, more often than not they were rescinded before I'd acted on the, and I went on to apply that to most e-mail.

We're also drowning in info, which is a double edged sword, eg we know exactly how things are in Iraq, unlike our great grandparents who got propaganda fed to them about battles just across the Channel, but we also get to know about just how unfair te world at large is, and that scares us because we see just how lucky we are.

Jean said...

What a beautiful piece.

Awareness and questioning, and - to a limited extent - choice, about what we do and how we respond to the rest: I guess that's what we have, maybe all we really have, that the birds don't.

Avus said...

My maternal grandfather (horseman on a farm)never owned even a bicycle and had never seen the sea (although only 30 odd miles away). The furthest he travelled was 7 miles to the local market town - and that infrequently. Although there was a bus service he used to walk it most of the time. Yet he was a happy and contented man in his busy little village world.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, thought provoking, and beautifully said.

Thanks for visiting the garden, Lucy, and your very kind words!

herhimnbryn said...

This piece resonated L. I find that I have to back away from some of the huge amount of info that comes my way via, television, the net, newspapers, radio. We no longer take a daily paper (I read the w/e paper only) and blogging is now reduced. I understand Tom's comment, no time to grieve or even assimilate.

So, am now off to walk with the hound along wet forset tracks!

The Goldfinches will come back.

Lucy said...

Thanks all, I'm pleased at the different responses, reflections and experiences you've all come up with. Too much here to go down every avenue, but thank you.
GJ! I do like the '2nd Coming Type',
Ap.- Indeed; did you see the programme about the Lusitania? Your comment made me think of it.
Avus -welcome back, lovely to see you
Jean - your words are as ever,x.
Z -Hello again and welcome, lovely to see you. Your Garden is beautiful, I shall put you on my links where you will come right at the top even above Zhoen, as I do reverse alphabetical order!
H - it laways has amazed me the number of blogging friendships you sustain so conscientiously. I am very honoured that if you are cutting back, you still get here so regularly; much appreciated.I don't grieve for the goldfinches really, though their sojourn does seem terribly short, I'm just glad they apparently had a successful season.

stitchwort said...

All things change - that's one of the basic rules of the universe. And so in a way, nothing changes.

(To reply to your comment on my holiday snaps posting, the Manor with the Fallen Rhododendrons was so named with a nod towards 'Allo, 'Allo.)

Anonymous said...

I like Tom's theory a lot. If it isn't true, it ought to be.

Bro. Bartleby said...

Perhaps we confuse natural change with artificial change. I think most in the world of modernity suffer the side effects of amoral capitalism, which when taken as a model for living can, as we all can see, model us in new and unexpected ways, we become new creatures and are blinded to what it is that has squeezed and pinched and stretched and made not God our potter, but an economic model. Adam Smith knew full well that this amoral system could be dangerous beyond belief, yet the moralist he was, and with great faith in his fellow man, believed that the 'hidden hand' (of God?) would steer this amoral system in a moral manner. Yet here we are, wondering why we have ever unsatisified wants, wants that we confuse with change, wants that our minds have been programmed to expect, wants that we want right now. Why? Because instead of God steering amoral capitalism, long ago the immoral took control and steered it until now we don't even realize that advertising has reordered our very minds. And that is why we grieve, yet know not why we grieve.

(sorry for rambling and standing atop the soapbox for so long.)

Lucy said...

Dave and Brother B. - it's wonderful to see you here again, and, brother, no apologies required, I am interested, impressed and honoured.

Marly Youmans said...

Mistle thrush is such a marvelous name--as is stormcock, another name for them.

Thoreau had this dilemma nailed in Walden, I think. He is quite damning on those of his own day who run after news, "news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelvemonth or twelve years beforehand with sufficient accuracy." I can imagine what he would say of our always-in-touch world.