Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Summer rain - nourishing the crops and freeing the imagination
When the rain falls heavily, and the noise from the tree canopy eradicates any modern sounds; when water boils in puddles - big round globules of bubble, like the orbs in a heated cauldron over a crackling fire, and the wood of old gates and fences absorbs the moisture keenly in spite of, or perhaps because of, the damage it will later wreak. In this weather, my thoughts turn simultaneously out and in.
Out: thinking of lives passed in long-gone eras, when rain like this was a benediction and deliverance for the crops on which small farming communities depended... Or perhaps a source of distress and agony, should too much precipitation wash the young plants from the ground and ruin the harvest. And in: considering what we have gained in a society - our society, now - that allows these problems to belong to someone else, somewhere else, so that we can focus our thoughts and lives elsewhere.
Through the Middle Ages, and the millennia before that, and right up to the rupture of the Industrial Revolution, perhaps 2% of the population - land owners, churchmen and hermits - had the luxury of not growing their own food. So now, in the west, freed from the yoke of the land and the tyranny of farm labour, have we now morphed in to a society of philosophers? It would seem not.
The ploughing and planting and hoeing and weeding of millennia past, since humans began farming, has been replaced in our modern society by work which - in the majority of cases - is not intrinsically linked to our well-being, and is essentially external to us in all but that it brings in currency with which to purchase. Our yearning for fulfilment, for much of our species' existence for 10,000 years, was met by the satisfaction of providing sustenance for ourselves and our dependents; it is only superficially requited by transactions for items that are not essential.
Below the restless pattern of acquisition which is the hallmark of modern life, lies a dormant sense of 'self' distinct from any other human on the planet - now or in the history of man - striving for expression through effort and application. Our denial of this need - encouraged by companies that want to sell us things of their design and pattern - can stop. Then we can allow our own creativity to flourish, and feel the satisfaction that comes from making our unique contribution to the world. When we acknowledge the truth, that companies exist to meet the demands of us, the consumer, we see that we have more agency than we realise to change the world we have always inhabited.