I woke this morning and opened all the windows. Birds are singing. One of my rose bushes is alive with buds and a full-blooming rose. How could that happen in such a short time and yet it did. Perhaps I, too, am in more open bloom, certainly I've gained even more appreciation of where I live.
I love England and Scotland, and yet, they are small countries, and the problems are more literally in one's face. They've known war in a way we haven't. They have a history we don't, and perhaps for me there is a freedom in that, in living here on land where less human blood, if any, in this spot, flames the soil.` I live on Coastal Miwok land. They were a peaceful people. Food was abundant, and people were few.
I bought two books while there. One is Philip Gould's When I Die, Lessons from the Death Zone. I found it exquisite.
It's curious, too, because he had access to the best health care in the world. He flew to the U.S. for health care when he was diagnosed with cancer. He then returned to England to utilize their National Health Service, and he concludes, as I interpreted it, that health care for profit can't work in the way of service without profit.
Oddly, though when I spoke to people there about their opinion of the NHS, they were not impressed. I wondered if Philip Gould did move to the top of the heap because of his prestige, but I also wonder if there is something in our nature that loves to complain. What health system would satisfy everyone? What system of any kind in any field would satisfy everyone? Are we always caught between poles bouncing and tossed back and forth, wanting a little more of this or that? Is it in our nature to note what isn't working? Is that how we've survived?
What I appreciate there is that because of limited funds in England and Scotland, they do seem to look at things more realistically. We flail extravagantly about, thinking we can have wars and shop and not raise taxes. We don't seem to see the zeroes in the same way they do. They know the difference between a million, a billion, and a trillion. Do we?
Where I saw this conflict on "independence" most clearly was when I read an article about skin cancer in Britain. The average Britain has had 30 to 40 sunburns in their lives, and yet they aren't checking themselves for skin cancer. Someone pointed out that the NHS should pay for sunscreen since it's so expensive. I wondered when each of us takes responsibility for ourselves, and either stays out of the sun or buys their own sunscreen, or maybe we accept the results if we don't, but it is a different kettle when are all in the same financial medical pot. I see more and more that as the world shrinks and we become more interconnected, we are in a conflict over the "good of the whole" and what each of us needs individually. I do want the freedom to choose whether or not I wear sunscreen, and, of course, I do, but would I want it enforced? I don't think so. I'm waiting for the day when we're told that the chemicals that give us SPF 15 and 30 cause cancer. Common sense might seem the answer, and again, we each have our own idea of what that means.
I also bought the book Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin. I wasn't aware of him, but if you enjoy nature writing, you will love this book. I know now that his books are acclaimed as "classics of nature writing". This one is filled with gems, and gives one a sense of living in the countryside in England. He writes of comradeship with the earth. Reading this book will mean you view each spider you meet with interest and care. Last night I watched an enthusiastic one building a work of art to decorate our front porch light. Properly photographed and displayed, she and her web could hang in the National Portrait Gallery in London. She is worthy of acclaim.
Bella is meowing and running to the deck. She wants me to come outside. She is wise.
Deakin writes about cats, the angel guides they are. Home! Absorption! Renewal! Rest!