Walking the dogs very early this morning (I couldn’t sleep) I was once again struck by the undiluted ‘Now’ reality of sensory appreciation. The four of us ambled towards the Beer to Lyme Regis coastpath route, and as we came over the rise that overlooks the English Channel, one could’ve been forgiven for accepting Divine Intervention without question. Grey, threatening clouds swept diagonally upwards, while falling out of them in vertical curtains of near-blackness was enough rain to end a hosepipe ban single-handed.
But this was down to the south west, whereas over to the East – where the sun was well into its business of rising – a shaft of pure light landed on the cliffs between Beer and Banscombe, turning them in an instant from a sort of dirty off-white into a glowing spectrum of creams.
As the April shower clouds danced about, the sunlight poked through at random, bathing now a field of rape seed and now a field of young wheat in astonishing colour…literally, in fact, a saturation process.
Terriers keen on sniffing, running, weeing and chasing do not notice such things: they are far too engrossed in spotting and then catching the young rabbits that – this being Spring – are everywhere in profusion. What these small bunnies lack in experience, they make up for with incredible speed, so none of the pack bagged any prey. Which was a blessing, because there was far too much beauty around for that sort of thing.
We walked along the cliffs, and I spotted a small fishing boat chugging contentedly out from Lyme. It remains one of my retirement fantasies to buy one for a song one day, restore it, and then phut-phut-phut out into the shallow waters here and drop a fishing line for a few hours disturbed only by the click-fizz of a beer-can being opened. With every week of fiscal denial and economic collapse that unfolds, such a plan looks increasingly unlikely ever to see the light of day. Nevertheless, when you’re out there in the elements, pretty much every so-called ‘practical’ consideration feels like a kop-out: there is just the one life in a 3-D Universe, and only a limited number of things that can suppy complete contentment. We must grasp all of them while we can – not from others, but for ourselves.
There were so many wonderful things about this brief interlude in my life. I didn’t think about Jeremy Hunt once, for a whole hour. I didn’t think about food, or shopping, or bills, or the European Union – or even the unholy trio of falling annuity rates, manipulated stock markets, and zero interest rates.
Predictably enough, however, I spent some of the time thinking about words, and plays upon their meanings. I realise this is a form of mental illness, but it’s been something of a pleasure for most of my life.
I thought about how, when one has rushed to the podium, one has urgent need of Imodium. I thought about the word Nickelodeon, its resemblance to Merkelodeon, and what daring naughtiness a Merkelodeon might show us. I pondered on the fairly useless question of the word Westminster, and how for some reason it made me thing of wet Ministers. And then finally, I mused about this message I’d seen on my pc screen the day before:
The close-computer-down program is not responding.
Please close the program to close down the computer so the computer can proceed to close down.
Well, my open up the senses program was working perfectly this morning. And even after we’d returned to the house, I had no desire to close down the open up program that kept my mind responding to the joy of open spaces.