The pall of sadness has hung like a dark Welsh raincloud this week, smothering light and air.
And as further news of damaged lives emerges from Afghanistan and Haiti, it pools with the cumulative losses of the last year and leaves me feeling wrung out.
So I sit and let the outside world in, laying down my armour of self-protection.
I can’t do anything else in the face of such trauma and tragedy.
And often without words, which would seem too cheap or flimsy for this quantum of grief.
Yet just sitting can become self-indulgent, and we need to face the tension of movement.
Too much, and we gloss over the enormity of what is happening in our world. Too little, and we ossify, and fatalism has won.
Gideon Heugh’s poem Walking, from his book Devastating Beauty, perhaps offers a way of being for a time such as this.
Solvitur ambulando – it is solved by walking.
The offer of this pace seems important here.
It’s not our usual high powered, leveraged drive, but our humble shuffle at a human rate.
It settles us into our place, without the arrogance of knowing and the temptation of control or digital assistance.
Just humbly walking our way forward and trying to do it right.
You mustn’t be afraid
to laugh in the world’s face
and say ‘I don’t know’ –
life is too short
and too important
to be taken seriously –
release your soul
from its consumer cage
and watch it grow
until it fills the air
and colours the world
Learn the small things
and be satisfied:
the rainbow splash of wildflowers,
the swooning moon in crystal night,
the laughter of a chalk stream
as it falls towards a greater sea
. . .
as we all do, maybe.
One foot in front of the other repeated
will often tell you enough,
one foot in front of the other
will often tell you enough.