Friday, March 12, 2010
stains, bells, blackbirds
After the rain and the wind, leaf stains are left on the brick pavement by damp leaves which have dried and blown away.
Catching up with a podcast on the BBC's History of the World in 100 Objects, I am left with the image of an ancient, Chinese bell in The British Museum. And the Confucian belief that sets of bells are symbols of a harmonious society, where virtuous individuals work together for the common good. As I dwell on this, the thought creeps up on me that the recent collapse of capitalist economics in the West and the moral vacuum it has left behind, has left us with a society remote from harmonious principles. We are ruled by the pragmatic. Vanished from the political horizon is any but the worst sort of idealism. "The best lack all conviction and the worst are full of a passionate intensity". Voters, confronted by politicians who can no longer truly boast a moral compass, find themselves depressed and uninspired. Bells are beautiful things - church bells, Chinese bells. The programme, I think to myself, is a timely reminder to think about a harmonious society, however remote it may be, and to strive for one. If you have a bell, ring one.
There is one side of The Grove where, just recently, there are always blackbirds, male and female, pecking at the grass. I have counted eight at one time and there are seldom fewer that three or four in evidence. I suspect that, come the Spring, they will break away from the group to mate and to take over separate territories. Meanwhile, when I walk that way, as I do this afternoon, there is a little prickle of excitement in counting their number.