More rain falling, the greyness shadowing green and the penetrating smell of soaked earth when I go out to peer at my new seedlings coming up so bravely, putting out new leaves. The housemate off to see a lung specialist and I go on trusting, hoping, putting one foot in front of the other. What else is there to do?
“Can we be saved from our thoughts? What do we do with disconcerting or unsettling thoughts? What do we do with sorrow? And in terms of plot, where does sorrow begin? It always begins somewhere, but does it have a middle and an end? Where does it fetch up? So I guess in a way I’m interested in how much effort we make, all of us, to switch off, as we have to. How things from our past come to confront us, even in the sunshine, even by the glittering pool.”
The sweet and clown-like Great Dane stands at the front door’s security gate looking out at the rain sheeting the garden and street. He sighs just like a disappointed toddler.and his ears droop down.
Now, one of the things that we know about psychopaths is that the light switches of their brains aren’t wired up in quite the same way as the rest of ours are—and that one area particularly affected is the amygdala, a peanut-size structure located right at the center of the circuit board. The amygdala is the brain’s emotion-control tower. It polices our emotional airspace and is responsible for the way we feel about things. But in psychopaths, a section of this airspace, the part that corresponds to fear, is empty.
How I like to read Wendell Berry and think about this small patch of ground that is my own particular landbase, not owned perhaps but a place given to me for a brief time to be cared for, a space in which wildlife and birds thrive, the place where trees have been planted and seeds push up through soil. A landbase that reminds me at times of this short space of life and what it means to give and share and stay receptive to whatever may come tomorrow.
The Wish to Be Generous
All that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man’s evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.