As we walk our walk, The Dog and I notice the changes along our route. We don’t walk the same path every day but we do walk around in a fairly small, local area. As Autumn has approached, we have noticed the vegetation in our verges die back, not so much leaving bald patches, but there are quite definitely places in the roadside’s coiffure where its scalp is visible – perhaps a blue rinse might help? It gives the place a feeling that it is no longer so important to maintain appearances and that standards can be allowed to slip a little.
And today we have reached the Equinox. The few days when, in both hemispheres, the length of the day and night are equal. Up here on the top, we have the wind-down of the Autumn Equinox while down there on the bottom they have the Spring Equinox – and all the hustle and bustle that entails. The strange thing is, suddenly, our verges are hustling and bustling too. The light the die-back has allowed through to the soil underneath the verge vegetation, has caused no end of upheaval. While it would be nice to think that this portends an Indian Summer, I’m afraid that the plants in question can’t make up their minds.
The picture shows the new growth springing up from some Cow Parsley die-back, but which is already showing autumn colours.
One of the things about Plato is that we really only have his own writings to to get to know him by – mostly, what we would describe today, as his lecture notes. Now he was teaching, not just the impressionable youth of his time, but impressionable youth who’s parents were the rich and powerful. This was a time when the Greeks were feeling their way gingerly towards democracy. They lived in a dangerous world – and a military dictatorship isn’t such a bad thing when instant armed response is a good survival mechanism.
To avoid being accused – and probably executed – for treason and sedition, Plato invented Socrates. This put him in the advantageous position of being able to say that he was only commenting on the lesson, not necessarily preaching it. He developed the character of Socrates to such an extent that a great many people believed he actually existed. Like many a good author since, he found that his creation became more real than he himself. Seeking a suitable and in-character method to dispose of Socrates, he had him arrested and condemned to death, then offered a way of escape – which Socrates naturally refused, opting instead to drink the poisonous Hemlock tea, surrounded by those who were urging him to escape.
However, the vivid, eccentric, cantankerous character painted by Plato is so much a man of that era, that it is entirely possible that he did exist and was a real person.
The picture today, could be Hemlock – or it could be Cow Parsley – or it could be a few Bracken leaves.