This blog has has looked wherever it can for hope, for beauty and for resolution of the many disharmonies in our individual lives and in the fragment of the wider world which touches on us. OK, I may sound like Fotherington-Thomas in the Molesworth books: ‘Hallo birds. Hallo sky.’ But this morning, as my garden’s daisies – ‘day’s eyes’ – opened fully to the bright sun, and the windflowers proliferated, and as the air from the hills stirred the scent of hyacinths, I drank in the loveliness of it all. And I knew that even as I looked, the season was moving on. And that these flowers would soon fade.
And then I read ‘The Daily Telegraph’. The wider world, with all its controversies and sadness, drew a dark curtain over my idyll. All the beauties of this Spring exist in a context which leads up to Good Friday. Maybe those radiant flowers point to the gold and white vestments of Easter Sunday. It is good to place one’s hope in them but here and now one cannot, may not, shut out the darkness. It’s not just a darkness of the individual spirit but of the wide world.
And then I went into our historic town centre to do some shopping in the Co-op… and I will be controversial here. I deal with a subject which it is almost impossible to discuss in any group without disagreement, which often leads to enmity. The shop’s tobacco display was guarded by two black shutters. They were hostile, bullying, starkly labelled in white capitals ‘TOBACCO PRODUCTS. The shutters slid open and in a millisecond crashed shut: at every purchase.
I make a further leap here. I know people will think me fanciful. But I did not grow up in an England of such puritan terrorism, a terrorism which is spreading continuously into other areas of individual choice. I wondered what the pilots who were refreshed during the 1939-45 war in the ancient pubs of the area would have made of it. Would they have felt welcome here today?
And, for a moment – it’s another vast leap of the imagination and people will mock here, including many of my friends but: for a moment my mind’s eye pictured a swastika flag hanging above the town hall entrance.