Pinch Yourself



This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

Wind     Ted Hughes


The storm finally arrived as promised. We lay in bed, on a cushion of half-sleep, and warily listened to the booming whoosh of the wind as it swept along the landscape. I thought about the roof, a tile warned that it was now loose, and we have a chimney that needs some work. The wind just continued. We were on a raft, in a bed of concerns, and yet we did not stir for fear of waking the other, whom we knew was already awake.

It’s good to get under cover. It’s warm to hide away. It benefits to feign sleep.

Last night, nothing counted on my growing list of concerns other than the damage the storm could possibly inflict upon the house.  In our trogladite state, we imagined the power of the earth and feared its consequences. How many things would come crashing down? What would splinter and never mend? What would be lifted from its foundations and never seen again?

It must have eased at some point, got bored of showing it own strength, and relented. We slept until a vague light began to show itself through the spaces between the curtains. We were awake and outside the violence of rushing air had softened to a rippling along the branches of the trees. The calm had come after the storm, but it was a tranquility that knew itself and its deep rages.

Mankind often thinks that nature performs just for us. We like to think that it is all related, that even in the chaos of existence there is some meaning, some path.


Nietzsche once stated that he aimed to write down, in ten words, what others would take a novel to explain. I am probably misquoting there, but you get the gist. I am reading these words as I write. There are things that I agree with and others that cause me consternation. I was raised in the broad church of Anglicanism and have spent my life building upon those foundations so, a few of Nietzsche’s claims do not ring true. But then again, I am making my own judgement based on the concept of truth.


I love wise words; they make me feel safe.

So, even as I am searching for meaning and realising that there may not be any meaning out there, I am still comforted by the words of my betters. Descartes does look a little smug in this painting, don’t you think?


And back to nature:

Last night’s storm was a thing that happened. It may have captured us with its intensity and it may have put us firmly in our places. Three people died as a result of that storm and it is safe to say that the lives of those around them will never be the same again. For a while, I was lulled into a comforting understanding of insignificance. That meant that whatever I was to do had no real meaning. Life makes no sense, ergo, I make no sense. Heads are nodding out there?

But, although it may all make nonsense, I have to add a little pinch of reason in order to stomach what is I am being fed. It’s like salt; without it dishes just lack flavour and it’s not because the salt just brings itself along and plonks itself on top of everything else, it’s because salt is team coach that recognises those ingredients around it and attempts to bring out the best in them. Such is reason; without it the food is just fuel.

Was the storm the salt of reason or did it just bring out flavours that would have perviously gone unnoticed?


There’s a chilly sun out there now. It has replaced the red haze and the unsettling stillness of yesterday. The large tree that dominates our garden has been shaken of many of it dying leaves. The shade it provides is now diminished and will be more so as it travels into the coming weeks. Its claw-like branches are now exposed in a final plea or prayer. Unless someone chops it down, it will grow again.

But there will be new leaves and, for whatever reason, that makes me feel something that is positive. 

Perhaps it is just that things go on. 


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