As light dims, as every [autumn] absorbs the leaves into the ground, as nature collapses inward to retreat through winter, so spring follows. Bulbs, once dormant, burst forth. The chartreuse of spring and the gold of summer return. Harmony.*
With these long days, I love to step outside the front door and spend a few moments taking in the new day. The greenness, the noises of a world waking up, the birds wheeling through the air with all their chatter, a few remembered words to help me focus in to the sacredness of the ordinary.
I find myself wondering whether our preoccupation with tidiness being the most important thing takes away so many of these wonderful, simple, messy things.
Tim Harford reflects on what happened when an eighteenth century attempt to measure and standardise forests lost so much of the messy:
‘But the local peasants lost out – they were no longer able to access fallen trees for firewood, saps for glues, medicines and firelighters, acorns to feed pigs and other resources too messy and trivial to register one the official surveys of the forest. And since these resources had never been registered in the first place, whatever the peasants lost did not officially count.’**
The tidiness of modern life with its work demands, housing and educational needs and more take a heavy toll, often beyond those we can think of. We lose sight of the messy, the wonder all around us which may in fact be the place we find the thought or idea or smile that will carry us through the next challenge. Hugh Macleod is pondering how growing older can change our perspectives, though we don’t have to grow older to see in this way:
‘So if you need to start improving your life, instead of coming up with grand schemes, you might pay more attention to the little stuff.’^