"All that I can claim to have learnt from the years I have spent in this world is
that the only happiness is love, and that the world itself only becomes the
dear and habitable dwelling place it is when we who inhabit it know we
due when the time comes to fly away to other more
commodious skies." Malcolm Muggeridge, The Green Stick
Chalet LAbri, February 1, 2003.acg
Comes now the beginning of the end of winter and a few warm days to awaken dormant rhizomes
as the planet tilts ever so slowly but certainly. I follow the seasons by reading
and comparing notes with the nearly century-old journal of Englands daughter Edith Holden who wrote this February 24 entry
in her Nature Notes for 1906:
Cycled to Packwood through Solihull and Bently-heath. I
passed a rookery on the way. The rooks were all very busy building up their old
nests and a great deal of chatter they made over it. I saw a little robin gathering
materials for its nestand further on, a Thrush with a beakful of long straws. Everywhere
the branches of the Willow bushes were tipped with downy white balls and the Alder-catkins were shewing very red. In the garden of Packwood Hall adjoining the churchyard the borders were full of large clumps of single
snowdrops; I brought away a great bunch. The farmer living there brought out
a little lamb to show me; one of a family of three born that morning. I held
it in my arms and it seemed quite fearless poking its little black head up into my face.
Rode home seven miles, in a storm of sleet and snow.
The birds at my feeder this morning wear the colors of patriotism; bluebirds,
(yes, real bluebirds!), cardinals, jays all compete for their breakfast. They
know nothing of the troubles bothering the world today and would be adequately nourished without my provisions. Some are migrants while others are residents in the dense woods back of the chalet. A family
of very young squirrels share the feast, entertaining me with their agility and gymnastics.
In the news, a growing chorus of acrimony over the threatening winds of war. Shall
we as a nation be determined in our resolve to protect the freedoms gained for us at the sacrifice of so many now lying
beneath the crosses of Flanders, Normandy, Arlington and thousands of other places on our planet, or shall we remain passive
and allow the forces of evil to infiltrate the fiber of our constitution? I find
myself siding with the sentiments of Malcolm Muggeridge whose biography I am still reading.
He wrote that one who enjoys the relative security of England must not disdain the means by which that security is
maintained, and that is force of arms. Such freedom that he enjoyed, to live,
write and say what he wanted, existed only because men were willing to risk being killed to keep it so.
Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. Within the university,
students and professors scrutinize every possible aspect of our universe from the billions of galaxies to subatomic particles,
electrons, quarks but they assiduously avoid examining their own lives. In the
wider world, we keep hectically busy and fill every free moment of our day with some form of diversion work, computers, television,
movies, radio, magazines, newspapers, sports, alcohol, drugs, parties. Perhaps
we distract ourselves because looking at our lives confronts us with our lack of meaning, our unhappiness, and our loneliness
and with the difficulty, the fragility, and the unbelievable brevity of life. Pascal
may have been right when he observed that if our condition were truly happy we should not need to divert ourselves the sole
cause of our unhappiness is that we do not know how to sit quietly in our room.
From The Question of God,
Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.