I woke today to the usual bed sheet tangle
and to an unfamiliar dream song spinning in my head. As soon as I tried to capture its essence it melted into nothing. Showering I began to remember parts of the now distant chorus:
Our past informs us
That futures rush towards us
So wish to wake afresh
Within this very breath.
Twee and clunky and probably some mish-mash of the stuff I was reading just before bed last night but placing it down here is a good enough start to this blogging experiment.
My central concern is how to live well and feel contented within my life right now. I find the countryside slightly depressing and green and kind of alien. I enjoy being there for an afternoon, as long as I can get back to the city before night fall.
I am a city dweller and although I most times enjoy the city, I have found a growing need to search for ways to appreciate my surroundings more fully. To find refuge and joy in the concrete and car filled streets, to welcome living so close to others.
A past diary entry
(when I was in the thick of reading ‘The Spiritual City’ by Phillip Sheldrake):
I am told that someone called Igantius Loyola thought that the ‘right choice’ for people seeking inner spiritual freedom was to be compassionate, charitable and attentive to others. And after summarising a bit of Aristotle, Tomas Aquinas and some other long dead luminaries, Sheldrake asks if diverse voices, groups and city populations can really come together and talk about and act towards a common good.
Maybe, maybe not.
Today our choir (Renewal) sang at Princess Campbell’s funeral. What an honour. I heard of a woman whose views, criticisms and passion were worn on the outside. She had made her mark within nursing and city life and evidently was dearly missed by those who knew and came into contact with her.
The half discussion. the relayed story on the way home touched my heart. When frailer and in her mid seventies this Jamaican woman basked in four standing ovations at Bristol university (while receiving an honorary doctorate in Law), but said the teller, she was then taken home by a volunteer. Taken back to a home where sparsity of furniture and food made their presence known.
The friend made her some hot soup, then left Princess, alone. Both venerated and discarded within the very same day.
As I rewrite this today, I wonder about this story, this glimpse of another who I never even met. Below the entry I see two more entries from the epilogue to Sheldrake’s book:
‘It is human gestures that remake the city day by day.’ (Michel de Certeau)
and a question:
‘How are we to enable our streets and neighbourhoods to be effective places of mutual engagement, often of a casual nature, rather than places of exclusion for some people and of threat for others.’
He asks how can it become a place where strangers are cherished? How can we love our city as ourselves?
For, he goes on the say, no image embodies the fullness of the human condition better than a city.