Thursday, 30 December 2010

Over the island

We take a walk over the island. I think it lasts about two or three hours, and while our progress isn't finely planned, it's not entirely whimsical.

We follow the paths, divert away as intriguing sights distract us, but throughout we follow an idea of a circular walk that will take us back to the beginning.

It's a strange walk, because it feels effortless. There are no great difficulties or arduous tracks, no big barking dogs or monsters along the paths, no creatures waiting in swamps or nightmares or disasters that befall us.

I am simply glad that we can stop to breathe in the whole and take a time to look at tiny features.

It's enough that I can run my finger down the striped bamboo and take the time to wonder aloud about the variety. Shark pauses to draw out the lines in her sketchbook.

We stop to look back, and I flip through it; it holds on every page clear lines where she has drawn one bamboo type after another. I resolve that soon we'll buy her the book on Hong Kong plants. Her inquisitive thoughts seem to have fixed on that direction for now, so we'll follow. It's as good a route as any, to follow the thoughts of children.

I don't believe in any god, or any supreme organising being, and anyone would have difficulty persuading me to accept there are organising principles working behind the scenes on behalf of the universe.

I'm of the mind that we face, in all plants, seas and skies, just a great quirk and happenchance. People too. I don't expect even from myself that I will create much purpose or order as I live through the days. There are moments I simply like to stop and see the colours turning around the world, listen to the sounds that slip from it, and feel the touch on my fingers. I don't need to find ways of being grateful, like praying or making any devotions. I'm simply glad that I can see, and feel, and be.

But I can't help feeling that this is a strange day. Maybe it is this suspended time between holidays when one celebration is done, but the other not yet arrived. Maybe I have lingering doubts I haven't dealt with. Maybe this year, we got lucky. Maybe I fear that we all made it this far, but if forces that I don't know - can't guess at, if you told, I would dismiss - if they are to have their dues, then we are headed for something horrible; that our small and daily disasters are not enough of an impact on our lives, that maybe next year, next year, it is our turn for calamity.

Better stop then, and before we arrive back at the beginning, enjoy the sun light, shining through a leaf.