Friday, July 14, 2006

Lori Decter sings Mimi's Act I Aria from La boheme (Puccini)

My first attempt to add video to my blog. Let's hope the technology works.

As for a comment on La Boheme, just listen and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Whose fence is this?

Sitting in my garden, I am surrounded by fencing two metres high but invisible to my eyes. It is covered from the ground upwards with ivy! Ivy? Yes that five-pointed leaf that repeats day after day, year on year and inch by inch, but never in the same shape or colour.

What do I see? Greens of every hue from dark and tough and ageing to small, new, fragile and light. And in between, every shade and misshapen size possible. There’s not a flower in sight, just millions of leaves each one covering the layers and leaves underneath, changing with the seasons and with the years but never changing the totality of cover over my lost and hidden fence.

If the fence was the ovum, the ivy was sperm! Millions of leaves which impregnated and in time turned into its own eco-system. Sustained by sun and rain, a shelter to frogs and birds, threatened by hedge-cutter and creosote, renewed by spring each year, but always home to a secret and silent community.

I closed my hand, pushed it between the leaves. More leaves? Yes, for a while, but they had lost their smoothness, and like the skin of an ancient naturist, were wrinkled, hard and crisp to the touch. They crumbled in my squeeze and fell to the ground. “Dust to dust,” says the good book?

Like motorways, railways, roads and paths, the ivy stems tangled and twisted to all points in this hedge. “Where I will,” they seemed to say. No architect, planner or bureaucracy here; just more and more growth and in amongst it, evidence of a huge range of creatures, spiders, ants, flies, beetles, centipedes, insects of every description, and all unwittingly approaching death by bird, hedgehog or other prey.

Where is the parliament to regulate this ivy? Where is the protest or the support? Where is the management and organisation? There is nothing I can find, save an eternal community, in balance but without committee. And underneath the ivy, long since lost to light, the fence lives on, save in its protective coat.

What lessons are there here for us? What can we learn from this peaceful idyll? Maybe to let nature take its course, to leave our world alone, to wrap ourselves in nature and not the reverse; but like each ivy leaf, we have no future and will not be missed. We make our input, just a little, we have our day, but in eternity, we barely figure, counting as even less than zero. A depressing thought? No, we are human, trustees of this universe, and destiny is ours, or is it mine alone?

(dedicated to Sylvie Garreau who gave me an empty book ..... in which to write!)