I am half way through my morning mug of coffee, the window is open, pleasantly neutral summer air is breezing its way round my room and, somehow, a small spider has decided to make me its home.
Off you go spider – outside to where I am unlikely to sit on you by mistake.
Today is, yes, let me use that word again, pleasant.
Writing from home on an English Summer morning is a great deal more pleasant, I would imagine, than returning to house arrest in Burma as Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s opposition party is sent back home in an attempt to silence her in next year’s Burmese General Election. Can somebody do something about Burma please? A wonderful country that has been under a military boot for far too long.
Back here though, nothing like that to complain about.
A magnificent bed of dahlias celebrates an English August in one of our local parks – a dramatic but peaceful ambiance for this carefree child.
This was Southover Grange Gardens in Lewes, Sussex, England, a gift of beauty in the middle of town to all Lewesians.
I have always had an affection for formal gardens with orderly and geometrical patterns of planting showing man’s capacity for using natural beauty as a celebration of human civilization.
My dream, one day perhaps, is to be asked to plant out one of those municipal roundabouts that liven up the outskirts of suburban conurbations. It is a love of the quiet virtues of orderliness that has always drawn me to lines of well-behaved but ever so slightly gaudy bedding plants and the gentle world that they illustrate.
It is that spirit of calm that should have descended on me today along with the summer breeze.
I am now feeling fitter than I have been since my brain haemorrhage nearly 10 months ago. A week of controlled kungfu in the New Forest recently has got my body going again and yesterday’s kungfu lesson in the park where I concentrated on the lethal but elegant moves of my Chinese Sword pattern, just added to those feelings of re-emerging energy in my muscles and veins.
I just need my brain to keep up.
There it is though, the centre of my consciousness, ever present as a force of limitation and a voice of warning just when I want to be up and away burning energy and celebrating the traditional glories of freedom on a day in high summer.
A peaceful spots where families can picnic and indulge in quiet conversation used to appeal with its promise of rest and recuperation but now, for me, such places shout back with a challenge to wake up, to make a noise and, climb onto a more rough-hewn stage again where rough-and-ready humanity comes together with all its vibrancy.
I suspect Aung San Suu Kyi might feel like this too as she is returned to her beautiful prison.
We all react in different ways at times like this; I wrote a poem.
Press The Button
Press the button; it takes you all the way.
Beyond fear, beyond joy.
Standing in the museum the model rocket beckons,
Its launch button, large, white comforting plastic.
Just press it.
Forget the roof, the damage, the trouble,
Let it free; send it off on its way.
Standing on the platform the express train roars.
Listen to its call, its siren shriek.
Run and jump on celebration day.
Not from sadness, nor from gloom
But as an adventure in going too far.
Standing here, terra firma holds us back.
Feet spread roots deep down through the earth.
Here we are safe, unimpeached, untried.
An English Oak, familiar and constant –
One-third visible, two-thirds in the dark.
Where does it take you pressing that button?
I don’t know but I hear its call.
To understanding perhaps, enlightenment maybe
Or merely to one last great moment –
Inevitable but unintended, I think.
Press it, go on, you know you want to.