Fear is in the air…

… and the magazine letter is late. (as usual)

Fear is in the air, you can smell it!
You can see it as well, the shop assistants giving out adverts in the street for their latest offers, the new signs going up pointing to various retail establishments, information about flu precautions.
We used to be afraid of Nuclear Weapons, Global Warming and Sea level rises, then we were afraid our energy supplies would run out.  After that came the fear of financial ruin at the hands of the global recession, now of course it is the turn of swine flu.  Every so often nature gives us something to think about, to re-asses our place in the world, to challenge our assumption that we are the dominant beings, in control, subject to nothing.
Imagine an abandoned motorway…
The cars have long since gone from this place.
A barren waste monument to the automobile that once was king.
A healthy breeze drifts along its length carrying with it dust, grime and dirt mere ghosts of the heavy traffic that once flowed along this artery.
The old tired road stretches out like a panoramic picture as far as the next bridge, stoops under, and is gone.
The surface is rough in places, smooth in others where wheels once turned.
A dead, decaying place you might think.
Here and there, among the un-seeing cats-eyes, a small mound of tarmac is raised up, a slight crack at its centre, no more.  A blemish on the smooth charcoal grey surface.  Yet there in the midst of all this bareness and waste ground is the glimmer of life, a small gap leading down to the earth below hoping for a little light and a drop of rain.
In the dark of this crevice a timid green spear points skyward reaching desperately for the light.
How far has this shoot pushed up from? How many months has it taken for this one leaf to emerge from the dead road around it?  How many other shoots died on the way to the surface creating the food for others to build upon? Days of growth? Weeks of struggle? Years of death and decay built up the nutrient for this one solitary shoot to push above ground.
What would it be like to be that one leaf, the shoot that strikes the air, the first in that place to feel the breeze on its slender leaf and to remember that thousands like it never made it to reach the surface, hundreds of shoots pushing upwards didn’t make it out, yet all joined together in the effort for this one shoot.  First one, but then afterwards many stronger, larger shoots, a flower perhaps, blooms in the wilderness and a garden is re-born from the earth.  Nature takes back what is rightly hers swallowing the grey with green.  As we celebrate re-birth and resurrection there is nothing quite so optimistic as a desolate place.  Remember the wilderness, the place where God was to be found.

Late, tired and in need of a magazine article…

Well, I found one,  in the form of something I had written previously.

It is kind of apt as I ‘intend’ to tidy the study tomorrow, and I’m sure many are beginning their spring cleaning.

These are the confessions of my ‘bin day’ week

On ‘brown bin’ bin day I offer these things not as rubbish to be thrown away, but with a hope that the potential within it can be released into life giving, nutritious compost.
Grass cuttings,
Pruned twigs from hedges,
Dead flower heads
Failed vegetables.

I offer them as a confession of my need for green space, perfect lawns, neatly     trimmed hedges, beautiful flower beds.
As I give them up let them be a reminder to try not to worry too much about the edges of the lawn or the shape of the hedges and to occasionally only garden the weeds allowing new plants colours and shapes to develop.

On ‘blue box’ bin day I offer these things not as rubbish, but with the potential to be something new for those who need these precious resources to create anew bottles cans and packaging.
Plastic milk bottles,
Glass jars,
Food packaging,
Tin cans.
I offer them as a confession of my need to have prepared foods, convenient meals and exotic treats preserved and shipped from all corners of this world.
As I give up these things let them be a reminder to try to shop more locally, eat seasonally and buy unprocessed foods.

On ‘blue bag’ bin day I offer all the paper that has come into this house, the half-read Newspapers, junk-mail, envelopes, shredded bills and bank letters, catalogues full of stuff we can live without and ill afford.  I offer these as a gift to be created into new paper, new words and offers with the hope that some of them may inspire, teach and re-create.  As I give these up remind me of the hours of work that has gone into the writing, printing and publishing, that even what I call junk-mail is supporting someone in a job and although useless to me may be used again for a better purpose.

On ‘black bag bin day I give up my share of what we all cannot deal with.  As I fill this bag with all the unwanted things that cannot be recycled I am joined to others, linked with those who take away our rubbish and hide it from our eyes so we do not have to look upon all that we did not want.  I add to this bag worries and hurts caused to others, the unseen consequences of past actions, pledging to put out a slimmer bag next week.