“By the lights of perverted science” – A Darker Irony Part One

“Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark”

Dante’s Inferno

Oh for Spring! The cool fresh air of a clear sunlit morning. Cool yes, yet the warmth of the sun kisses my face. As I squint into the distance, one hand raised above my brow the other holding a steaming mug of coffee with its microscopic droplets of steam swirling as if in a hypnotic dance, I see a dewy lawn peppered with little robins and sparrows eagerly pecking at the worms who had likewise craned their ‘necks’ towards a serene new light. My eyes acclimate to the glare and focus in on the buds, the blossoms and the sparse and protruding stalks of what will be beds awash with Summer flowers in the weeks to come. An instant inner serenity becalms me. The faint intonations of the radio waft past  gently ebbing and flowing with the twittering birds and morning hum almost in some pre-agreed harmonic pact. I let out a breath which seems to have been held since that bitter, icy wind blew me sideways when stoically  I scraped the snow off the car windscreen with numbed knuckles. I give an  involuntary shudder. Was that only 4 weeks ago? Seems like an eternity. As the thought evaporates from my mind, my shoulders drop and my heart-rate falls. I am re-born, reengergized, sure that I will re-double my efforts, develop new strategies; lift my head up confident that I will succeed. This time things will be different.

Who can we thank for this apparition of serene spendour? This bucolic delight? Mother Nature doing its thing? Sure, it’s rational and scientific but also cold and clinical. It does not seem enough somehow. It’s too prosaic, too mechanical. It feels more than just a happy combination of physical and chemical reactions. It’s more complicated that that, there is a subtext, a deeper meaning, surely? God in his Heavan? Just weeks after Easter and death and raising of his son, it seems possible, approriate even. His gift to us for following his light to salvation. Our small insight and preview of his Heaven, our Heavan! so long as we stay on the path of righteousness and turn away from sin. But no, wait!; salvation or predestination? Am I already saved or already damned or can I still earn my place in his mighty kingdom? Maybe I have to loiter in some kind on ante-chamber and lobby for my sins to be reviewed, referred and ratified before being released into eternal sublimity. God may well have laid out all that I can survey but his followers are not looking at the ‘big picture’ . The God I know would not have made the path so confusing, so inconsisent.

My right foot shuffles as I take a half step back as the voices of a hundred philosophers chatter away in my head in some kind of Platoesque symposium arguing whether this panoramic perception is innate or a learned experience. Should we be rationalists or empiricists. They hardly know themselves as they argue with each other. It’s too confusing! The radio intonations grow. “It’s eight o’Clock. Here are the headlines”.

The Romanticists – yes, they had it right. The rejection of rationality, order and rules. It is not what it is, it is what  you feel – its your interpretation and experience of what you touch and feel. Rather than explaining what you see, you become part of the experience at one with nature. No longer a prosaic explanation but a poetic one. Yes, that could be it and nothing can spoil it  “Heavy artillery shelling by Israeli forces are targeting  Palestinians in retaliation……”

Then again what about going all the way back to the  Greeks with their fairytale stories. They mythologized life to make sense of the non-sensical, explain the inexplicable and explore the unfathonable.  We may, in our modern way, dismiss their fancible stories but do they make any less sense than the scientific, rational order we strive for? Does it make makes us feel more sure and more satisfied, more contented when looking out on this sunny morning. I do’nt think so, so why not believe that this really is Demeter’s celebration of her returning daughter, Persephone from the Underworld after four months of sadness. The return to growth and renewal. Perhaps it is not my face being kissed by the Sun it’s Persephone and this time its for good. To live in perpetual sun. No more rainy days, icy blasts, taxes, artillery shelling. I shut my eyes and move my face higher up in the air, immersing myself in passionate kisses. In a moment the light and warm kisses  vanish.  My eyes open and scan the horizon where I see a small stray round cloud with a dense grey center passing over the sun completely depriving the vista of its luminescent color. As I scan further I see the grey light chasing the sunlight over the hills far into the distance. Looking behind me,  clouds have moved stealthily from the west amassing like some Zulu force atop a mountain ridge ready to strike. The birds retreat. A chill air creeps in. Nothing moves. It is still and quiet except for the radio

“And in the United States, Sarah Palin told a gathering….”

I shudder again.


Does Demeter listen to the radio?


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