I must harvest the Sun

  • Tuesday, April 30, 2019
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He aint gettin' nowhere and he's losin' his share, He must have gone crazy out there. 
(Michael Burton, Night Riders Lament)

It is Spring in England. This is always a time of significance for me, it is the end of the arduous and hated Winter and the aperitif to Summer. It is the time of year when I have run into the woods to listen for and hear the Woodpeckers and watch for the lengthening of the days. Spring ushers in the months where I must harvest the Sun, storing it in my skin and my bones, allowing me to replenish and renew what was leached away by the long dark. Spring brings the flowers too. The Japanese have an ancient tradition called Hanami which celebrates the blooming of the Cherry Blossoms, they sit under the trees and enjoy the transient beauty of the flowers while they last, acknowledging the idea of mono no aware - nothing is forever. My other Spring rite is running for the Bluebells which like the Cherry Blossom arrive in Spring and quickly bloom, dressing the woods in a garment of brilliant colour and then quickly disappear. Every year at this time I set off on Hanami runs to search out and enjoy these beautiful and intense flowers while I can, it is a habit of joy that binds it's hands with those of the sun to plant the perennial seeds of life in my soul. I absolutely need this.
I have also been reading a book.
It is a standard size paperback by Johann Hari called Lost Connections. The book is about depression, it's possible causes and the antidote to these causes. In the pages Johann muses about medication, the possibility that the effect of anti depressants has been given to much credence and puts forward the view that depression is not caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Johann argues that it is the lost connections of humanity that have allowed depression to take root in peoples lives. Some examples of these lost connections are things such as the disconnection from community, childhood trauma, lack of meaningful purpose and losing touch with nature.
While I believe that medication can play a role and be beneficial there is a lot in the book that makes sense to me.
Reading it reminded me of a quote by Ivan Illich, the Austrian philosopher priest who said that, "Traditional society was more like a set of concentric circles of meaningful structures, while modern man must learn how to find meaning in many structures to which he is only marginally related. In the village, language and architecture and religion and work and family customs were consistent with one another, mutually explanatory and reinforcing. To grow into one implied a growth into others."
These are wise and prophetic words that seem to confirm Hari's thinking.
The connections Illich refers to have great power and many of them have broken down in contemporary society. I believe that depression and anxiety are rising to epidemic levels especially in young people and the breakdown of traditional connections could be a big part of the cause.
Watching the sunrise in silence, Buzzards stretching their wings above a rising thermal or running amongst the Bluebells tell me that we are connected, threads in the same fabric. The door is open. Somewhere lies healing.
Ah but they've never seen the Northern Lights 
They've never seen a hawk on the wing 
They've never spent spring on the Great Divide 
And they've never heard ole' camp cookie sing

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