If you want inspirational, then you can’t beat social media. How we continue to bumble along as we do, awash with such powerful messages, must be a testament to humanity’s ability to ignore good advice.
Just say we took even a fraction of the good advice that we have access to. Wouldn’t we be such unbelievably powerful and efficient individuals? The other side of the coin is, of course, what would happen if we took even a fraction of the good advice, that we so confidently offer to all and sundry, ourselves?
There are people out there who do all this stuff. They regularly take all their lemons and make lemonade. They constantly start journeys of a thousand miles with that first small step. They welcome change with open arms. Every single thought they think is positively positive, and never would they think of taking any action that didn’t stretch them to their extreme extremity.
Luckily, for the rest of us, they are the exceptions that prove the rule. So there’s no need to panic. It’s fine for us to just sit here, bemused by all the hullabaloo, shaking our heads and wondering, just where do they get the energy?
Talking of the exceptional, the hedge in today’s photo is a good seven feet (two and a bit metres) tall, and sticking out the top of it we have – a thistle. Surely, there must be an inspirational message here, somewhere.
Our days are becoming quite autumn-like. We still have gloriously warm and sunny times, and we try our best to schedule setting out on our daily dawdle to coincide with these – but they are becoming harder to synchronise to. The alternative is a cool, clammy mist, not overly unpleasant, but not that pleasant either. In the mist, our horizon shrinks to a few miles, our mountain vista is replaced by a few fields and hedges and the sun is replaced by a lighter patch of grey in the sky.
The rooks have started their autumn dance, large groups of them wheeling, diving and calling while, every so often, a small guerrilla band break away to harass the buzzards. They have moved their rookery from the woods near the railway crossing, half a mile away, to the woods behind our house. During the nesting and chick-rearing of early Spring this past year, we could hear the racket they made, even at this distance. Having them as near neighbours this coming Spring will be, shall we say – interesting.
Today’s picture represents another feature of autumn. Although it has fluffy seed heads, this is not a thistle. You might think we could identify it by its leaf shape, but the leaves are dried and withered and are now identifiable only as dead leaves. The flowers too, other than that they were yellow, hold no clues.
At this time of year, nature ticks very few boxes on the questionnaire.
Towards the end of the 1980s, it became obvious that the digital age was looming. The more forward looking were quick to grasp the immense opportunities that this would present, and so they began a careful campaign to position themselves, in order to maximise these opportunities to their own advantage.
A far-sighted group at Palo Alto, realising that an era of increased leisure was in the offing, decided that entertainment would be key. This, in turn, led to the concept of ‘playfulness’. Initially, it was thought that tapping or patting would be the way technology could be expected to develop. Further investigation, however, raised doubts as to whether the general populace would be ready to accept such advanced concepts without extensive re-education. This initial setback was not allowed to halt the progress towards the new world order, and in one of those serendipitous, out of the box, breakthroughs that are only later recognised as significant, the concept of ‘playfulness’ suggested a possible alternative. This, first stage plan, led to the development of the computer mouse.
While this has become a staple, it must be remembered that it was only ever envisaged as an educational stop-gap. It is heartening to see progress in the original master plan. The mouse is, at last, giving way to the tapping and patting that was that first, central vision.
Fluffy cats, of course, invented the Internet to show off how cute and playful they were. This guy, spotted, dozing in the sun under the hedge, is obviously on his day off. You can’t be brilliantly visionary 24/7, now can you?
You need to be thinking the right kind of thoughts, that’s what I think.
Life is full of hedges. Mostly, they are very nice hedges, neat and green – and we are quite happy to have them around. Now and then, we get to feel a little hemmed in, but generally they give us a sense of security – they keep the cold, hard world away.
There are times when we want security badly and we surround ourselves with extra hedges. After a while, we find that the things that go bump in the night manage to get comfortable, and stop bumping around. However, we do have these nice hedges that took us ages to build, and who knows? The things might start bumping again one day. We come to love our hedges, and we depend on knowing that they are there. We forget why we made them. Our horizons are sufficient, and bounded by the comforting green of our hedges.
Then one day you find a hole in the hedge.
You could be thinking really irritated thoughts – about how hard you worked to make that hedge solid and secure. How lucky it is that you found the hole, and can get it blocked up before, well, before – something, you know.
Or, you might be thinking quite different thoughts, you might stick your head through the hole, and breathe the air from outside.