26 March 2020 – 19:50 GMT – 7°C Mostly Clear – Co. Dublin, Ireland
I had wanted to acknowledge the great printer #normanackroyd on his birthday but Covid-19 meant no one was around at #eamesfineart to help me understand fair use had I used one of his prints on Instagram. I’d heard the BBC Radio 4 broadcast earlier of an Ackroyd interview by Robert Macfarlane while Ackroyd continued to work. Acid etching and heavy printing presses made for fascinating descriptions even unseen on radio.
Robert Macfarlane is a big walker. “The Old Ways” is brilliant, putting Macfarlane up there with Fermor and Chatwin in the pantheon of travel story tellers. And Macfarlane explains the importance of language as in “Lost Words” illustrated by Jackie Morris. Imagine your kids being lost for words to describe an acorn or a bluebell or a kingfisher. Purged from children’s dictionaries to create space for new words like ‘broadband’. We need a word for that concept and I propose ‘wordthanasia ‘ though I can’t work out what word it should replace.
Covid-19 is changing things. Many things. Remember when ‘separation’ referred to relationship suspensions? Or when ‘confinement’ was a polite term for pregnancy? Or when ‘cocoon’ was associated with butterflies?
Non-sequitur. Imagine being so high that you can see everything, so detached that you can’t explain your visions. Imagine being on a mountain above the clouds, clouds so thick you can’t see the valleys. Wonder about the folk in the valleys who can’t see you. Reality can be incomplete. Even if the airs were crystal clear, the earth’s curvature hides more than you could ever see. The dark side of the moon is another useful analogy. ‘Seeing is believing’ wasn’t coined by a blind person. So why do we accept dictators and autocrats? Who truly believes in infallibility?