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Life goes on.

Aug 14, 2017
As this article appears on a monthly basis, it is never really possible to comment too specifically on topical subjects. The whole world can change in the time between creation and publication.

As I write, we have just completed an indecisive election (blame it on the young?)
and have entered into Brexit negotiations (blame it on the old?). In addition, we have been subjected to a senseless series of terror attacks by those whose main aspiration in life appears to be that of committing suicide. And as I write, the dreadful and tragic events at Grenfell Tower are slowly unfolding.

This state of affairs reminded me of something I’d read somewhere many years ago, that went as follows: ‘As I was pondering one day, looking to the heavens, feeling sad and low and contemplating a life where events seemed to be conspiring against me, suddenly a voice came from above saying ‘Cheer up my friend, things could get worse’. So I cheered up and sure enough they did!’

Earlier this morning I’d been down to my local plant nursery and had bought what I think is called a Heuchera, although no two people seem to pronounce it in the same way. Whilst I was planting my new purchase in the last available space in the garden, it did occur to me that maybe this action was somewhat rather facile in the midst of potentially life changing events occurring around me. Stiff upper lip? Maybe, and thankfully there is a lot of that around; but most of all it was simply a way of establishing continuity, because we just have to get on with things. We really have no choice, and continuity is
best achieved by normality.

We’ve lived in our current house for almost thirty-five years and during this time we have never ceased to be enchanted by the gloriously uplifting song of the blackbirds - an exceedingly profitable return on our investment in bird food. Strangely enough it actually seems as if the same blackbirds have been around for the whole of our time here, but in fact the average individual lives for around three and a half years and on that basis, we are therefore on our tenth generation.

Under the circumstances this subject might seem to be somewhat mundane. But on the contrary; over the years we have seen these birds suffer numerous disasters, including the very sad loss of one partly albino bird, whom we called ‘Stripy’, whose life was brought to a sudden end by next door’s cat – and whose progeny, by the way, carry this
abnormality even to this current day. We’ve also seen them suffer the predation of the neighbourhood sparrow hawk, and in spite of all this what they appear to seek most of all is continuity – and they achieve this by simply carrying on with the normal things in life, and they do this instinctively.

We are no different! We might think we are far superior intellectually but life’s certainties can disappear as suddenly as the early morning mist and then we too find ourselves seeking solace in normality. This is surely an instinctive response, for life has always been uncertain and I am sure that we have been conditioned over many generations to deal with this roller coaster by purely just keeping on as usual. 

Now I don’t want you to feel as if I am being unduly pessimistic here, because actually I don’t feel that way at all. Strangely enough – or perhaps not strangely enough - events such as these do serve to make us appreciate the ordinary things in life such as family, friends or simply a good old-fashioned cup of tea. The concert which took place after the events in Manchester, for example, was so exhilarating and gave
one confidence in the triumph of the human spirit and an encouraging belief in the young.

So there you have it, ‘keep on keeping on’ and every other cliché in the book – and I must say that it has been difficult to write this article without indulging in too many of them. Of course a cliché is a word or phrase that is over used and lacks any original thought and therefore its impact, but there are some things which need to be said time and time again.

So next time you are feeling a bit concerned by what life has to throw at us, why not go out and buy yourself a Heuchera, even if you can’t pronounce the name properly. If you haven’t got a garden, then just make yourself a nice cup of tea. It’s perfectly normal you know!

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