What Makes A Difference

When I was about fifteen I remember sitting on a beach near where we lived with my uncle who was reading me something he had written about the universe being anti-gravitational (don’t ask! He had a friend whose PhD was on ‘the eleven dimensions’) and I noted that he was frightened of the sea. He said it was very dark. I remember being surprised because I had always thought of the sea as a wondrous place one merely had to respect because it was dangerous.

It made me think about childhood experiences and how they shape our adult lives no matter how rational we are.  I was scared for years of stormy weather and felt as if the ground was going to start moving until I learned from my mother that at ten months old I was at sea in a ship in a force ten gale. What she was doing on a ship when she was scared of water having been thrown into a pool by her father when she was five to teach her to swim, is a whole other story.

Our ways of thinking can be very structured but the foundations and assumption we base our thinking upon may often be nothing of the sort. Understanding those assumptions and questioning them may actually be the foundation for a less fractured society because nothing is so fixed we need to believe it all our lives.

Change, after all, is the great strength of nature.

What Does Your World Look Like?

There are around the world hundreds of eruptions every year. We don’t know about them because for the most part they happen under water. If you have never seen the films of these eruptions I would suggest you try to hunt one down because it is a very weird thing to see steam created on the seabed.

It is interesting about these eruptions that molten lava  forms and geologists have worked out that the sea beds around the world expand because of this activity stretching out about an inch or so every year. Which is even more interesting because if the seabeds are pushing themsleves outwards how come continents stay pretty well fixed moving at a much, much slower rate of an inch a century?

This perplexed scientists for quite a while.  Until they looked more closely as the density of magma and what happens to it as it erodes away and air gets into it. It forms granite that heaviest of rocks as any farmer who has had to clear a few pieces from their land will know. The thing is relative to the magma is it much lighter. And granite and other rock strata that forms the ‘bedrock’ of continents float. The seabed expands, pushes against the continents and slides under them.

Oh how different the world looks through other’s eyes!

Mind Altering Drugs

Since my sister has tried everything in the world (so I am told) and lives in a haze of marijuana, I do wonder why people seek mind altering experiences through chemicals in plants. I do have an understanding that artists have often tried these things, and religious shamans have used them for centuries to great effect for trances,  and even cures for illness (especially psychiatric disorders like depression).

But with the classification of drugs has come the plea that we must understand the social reasons people use drugs.  In my sister’s case there are issues of high intelligence, guilt and escapism. Peer pressure and money lead others down the road as well as making money. I wish I could say it is the stupidity of youth but it affects all social classes and all age groups, so simple experimentation also plays a part.

Then again some people truly enjoy the ‘lighter’ drugs that do not kill you and since dopamines are released in the brain for many reasons the high one gets with sugar or some teas can also be assumed to be some kind of ‘drug’ therapy. Look at alcohol, which is apparently the acceptable face of chemical imbalance. We are a bunch of chemicals living off another bunch of chemical.

It makes me wonder what is really going on in my head when I stand on a cliff top, in front of a wild ocean and feel as if the whole universe is stuck between my ears.

Walking The Dream

The high cliffs of Cornwall, dressed in gorse,  dipping down with sudden thoughtlessness to coves of sandy beaches are the perfect places to ‘find out’. Here with the wind in your hair and the sea in your eyes you learn the power of nature. And looking out towards the continents of Europe or America depending upon which coastline you are on, you see nothing but your own infinitesimal smallness.

And walking those coves you find that sailors are dirty people who throw everything off their clean boats and ships to be washed ashore in a softened form and occasionally you find the sea herself throws up her children and leaves them to rot beneath a cheerless, grey sky.

And across the rocks you find your muscles and your blood, you find reason and question as you see the crabs scuttle and touch the mussel shells and salty, stinking seaweed which somehow delves deep into your mind as if touching your ancestors or reminding you that here is the mother of DNA.

And somehow you are filled with the sea and the cliffs. Your body heat becomes their moments and your moments become their possession. You adorn their existence.

And words are born.

The Sea

I learned to swim in a swimming pool but I did not feel I was swimming until I swam from a rock to a moored boat when I was 11 and felt I had not only achieved a marathon – the boat was a few yards away at most – but because I knew there was a lot of life swimming around in the same water I also felt strangely vulnerable.

I don’t like heights but I still climb trees and stand or sit gingerly as high as I can go wondering what I am doing there, looking at my dogs who are also wondering, riven in two between a certain degree of fear and a wonder that the tree exists and the view being beautiful. Living in the countryside I have been immensely spoiled for most of my life having gentlemen farmers who allow me to wander freely on their land. Thousands of acres of real estate have been my friend and comfort through the years of my mother’s illness.

The challenges of life can be immense but they can also be fundamental – to keep connected to those things you loved as a child. And when you have finally finished with toys, which doesn’t seem to be a human trait at all as we even use each other as throw-away playthings, to find what you love gives love back is a joy.

No Nature doesn’t love me in any traditional sense; but possesses me. Like any mother I understand her better with my adult mind and our conversations are endless, deep and productive.

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November 2018
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