A few weeks ago, I took you on an allegorical journey from my gut to the soil. I hoped to make the point that there are many small forces that shape our world and whose impact on our lives is very often overlooked. You are breathing as you read this. We all take our autonomic breathing for granted until we can’t. The breathing happens unnoticed until it’s hard to do. Small forces, likewise, do their thing whether appreciated or not.[Read more…] about Sunflower Ramblings II
We spent a very pleasant ten days over Christmas in Lanzerote in 2017. There weren’t too many tourists though the number grew noticeably as the New Year approached.
At one point, we rented a car and took in a day of excursion north from our hotel in Playa Blanca. We visited lichen coloured but otherwise bare volcanic terrains formed less than three centuries ago. We drove past La Corona that erupted 20,000 years ago. We looked out from Mirador del Rio over to the island of La Graciosa which von Humboldt reputedly called ‘Hell’ when he visited in 1799. Hell wasn’t just about volcanic fires and brimstone, it was a name for a place at the bottom of the earth, somewhere unimaginably far away like Timbuktu in Mali or Tatouine in Tunisia. It has been said that stories of pirates and treasure on La Graciosa from the 1760s were the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. Ah yes, Sir Walter Raleigh was mentioned in the Piracy Museum at Teguise; the English pirate Walter Raleigh.
‘Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone’
‘Catch your dreams before they slip away’
The lyrics of Ruby Tuesday never made sense to me but what a melodic and catchy song it is. Perhaps it’s not anthemic enough to feature in a global top 50 of the best songs of all times if only because The Rolling Stones probably have a dozen other contenders. It’s one of my favourites and another is Angie.
What does a photograph depict? What are your expectations? Tag this one with visible elements such as sky, blue, mountain, egmont, ridge, tree, norfolk pine, tower, clock, shops and categorise it by landscape, travel or urban. But if you knew more you might add the contexts of spring, dormant, opportunity or shopping. And if you lived in New Plymouth, you might discard it entirely knowing you had hundreds of better shots. Because if you lived there you’d have the knowledge and time to realise better opportunities.[Read more…] about Volcanic Adventures
It’s amazing what you get done in the bath. That was my takeaway from the movie Trumbo, based on the true story of a blacklisted script writer accused of using movie scripts as communist propaganda. And I latched onto the fact that he wrote in the bath! Maybe that’s because baths and saunas, like walking, are activities that bring me great clarity of thought: a transient clarity borne of an intense but narrow focus. Wabi sabi?
When Catherine Dunne was honoured with the 2018 Irish PEN Award for Contribution to Irish Literature, I was lucky enough to be in attendance. A round-table chat about the books we were reading that year brought me to the realisation that, sitting among so many novelists, I had read no fiction in the previous twelve months. I’d unexpectedly retired from a career in geoscience and possessing a past and a present, I was looking for a future. Determinism was parked and I was imagining multiple probabilistic outcomes while trying to make the right choices. My bedside bookshelves were decorated, if not vertabrated, with spine words like Harari, Sapiens, Syed, Black Box Thinking, Taleb, Antifragile, Frankopan, The New Silk Roads, O’Connell, To Be A Machine, Rosling Factfulness and walking here, there and anywhere.[Read more…] about World Book Day
25 March 2020 at 10:31 GMT – 7°C Mostly Clear – Co. Dublin, Ireland
I stumbled over one of my photographs of the Mourne Mountains and that made me think of Slieve Gullion. Like Krakatoa and Vesuvius and Etna and Fuji, Slieve Gullion stands proud of its landscape though its a few million years older. And it’s often visible from South County Dublin some 90 km away and it less than 600 m high. Under high pressure conditions, not through today’s spring mists. It stands alone from our perspective, our eyes drawn to it in the same manner that drew megalithic people to build passage graves on the summit
I had the same view as my photograph when my age was in single digits. I remember seeing it once from where I grew up, through binoculars we were using to identify birds among the frames of hundreds of new houses being built at the end of our garden. My father joked “It’s a miracle” because the brown smog of Dublin city was between us and the mountains. The view disappeared shortly after that because my parents let the end of the garden grow wild to block our incoming neighbours from watching us in our kitchen and bedrooms.[Read more…] about Borders