Friday, September 21, 2007

The One Second Vista

Traffic has made me late and tense so when I get the chance I park and run.

I fly past a flash looking restaurant with its large street facing windows open wide.

There is a perfectly white table cloth. There are two wood framed chairs. There are two similar looking women.

A young woman dressed for business, a lawyer maybe, reads a menu. Watching her lovingly, forlornly, an older lady dressed in her best clothes, a mother maybe.

Are they really mother and daughter? Did the mother really fly all the way across this massive country to see her daughter? Did she really fly all that way on her own?

But it seems that there is still a huge distance between them. It looks to me like the mother wants to reach out and touch her daughters hand. It looks like she’s bursting to say,

“You don’t have to spend all this money to impress me; I’ve always been proud of you”

I feel like calling out to her,

“Just say it!”

But I’m late.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Sue grew up in a posh inner city suburb with all the benefits of the western world; a wonderful family in a safe community. Sue grew up healthy and strong.

When she was three years old her mother told her that carrots grew in the ground and apples grew on trees.

“Where does Steak grow Mummy?”

“Well, it grows on cows Sue”

“How does it grow on cows?”

“Steak is a cows muscles”

Sue thought about this for a while. She thought about all the cows out there that had had all their muscles eaten off.

“I don’t want to eat cows muscles Mummy. I just want to eat vegistables”

And Sue became a vegetarian. At school Sue got teased about her un-trendy lettuce sandwiches. But she didn’t care. Somewhere there was a cow with all its muscles and it was thanks to her.

Sue was eight years old when she realised that cows actually had to be killed to make steak. That just proved to her that she was right all along - eating meat was barbaric.

The more she thought the angrier she became. What gave people the right to steal a bee’s honey? What gave humans the right to take away a Sheep’s baby for its skin?

And Sue became a vegan. At University everyone laughed at her plastic shoes and her soy yogurt. But Sue didn’t care. Somewhere an animal was able to feed its offspring and it was because of her.

When she was 23 Sue found that yoga calmed her mind; she practiced twice a day and meditated for half an hour every morning.

The yoga retreat centre was miles out in the country - on a farm where people lived in harmony with nature. It really was a retreat in the truest sense; the air was fresh and the whole world seemed to be at peace. Here mans cynical ideas of ‘Survival of the fittest’ seemed but a bad dream.

Sue took deep long breaths as she headed towards the food ashram. Several people welcomed her with a traditional Indian greeting as she filled her plate from giant bowls of wonderful food.

The young man serving himself in the queue next to her smiled and joked

“This looks great! Where’s the steak?”

Sue glowered back.

“Oh come on!” said the young man “You’re too pretty to be one of those lettuce sandwich eating, plastic shoe wearing vegans”

When she heard this something inside Sue snapped. All those years of caring when no one else cared came back at her in an instant.

She picked up a fork and stabbed it through the young mans throat.

It wasn’t until he was lying on the floor, blood streaming from his wound, that she realised what she had done.

His tee-shirt had a picture of some farm animals and a slogan that read:

“I don’t eat my friends”

The young man was a vegan too.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Two Minute Dreamer

After the movie the credits roll, the music plays and I know this – I can’t do it alone.

I am reminded of the past. 6 o’clock was filled with the cool freshness of a new day. A silk ribbon of rosy light edged the velvet blue sky.

These mornings are a mix of strident toughness and a kind of serious joy. The Earths gravity is an anchoring force that holds and steadies me. I am a patch member in a Gang of one. It seems as if the trees, standing strong, their feet deep in the earth, must feel as l do.

But there is also a softer touch, the gentle air around me. It does not stand against me but supports me, fills me with a soft luminosity and a lightness that is the antidote to too much heaviness. Birds can lift themselves up on it and watch the world from on high.

And it seems to me that that wind turbine - yes far in the distance on that hilltop - is my symbol. Its slow turns represent the power that is all around me; the force that can be felt but not seen. I know that hilltop well, I know that when you stand there it is easy to feel like your head is in the sky and that all that is below belongs to you.

This dawn is almost gone as I head homewards. There I lie on the floor and listen to the sound of my own breathing and to a music that talks of summer and sunshine and of growing old without fear.

The musician captured the spirit of the morning. What magic was used to distil that essence? What magic can make a song that evokes the memory of the sacred and reminds us of that which is worth our lives?

This is a magic I need but do not posses.

After the movie the credits roll, the music plays and I know this – I can’t do it alone.