Friday, 13 February 2009


I remember once pontificating at university on "Science, God & Morality" or some such "interfaculty study" essay. I wrote about going into the hills and what it meant to me (see! I was blogging then! 35 years ago.)

I likened our existence on this little planet of ours to grains of salt scattered on the rumpled quilt of humanity. Totally insignificant. When I ventured out onto the hill, my minute little being was put sharply into contrast with the huge sweep and majesty of God's Great Plan and the sheer enormity and bulk - physical presence - of the mountain landscape about me. It brought perspective into my humdrum little life. We are but grains of salt, tossed about on the massive quilt of life.

Then, tonight, after spending an enlivening evening down the Axe & Compass with the Farmer, Chicken Dave and the Banker, I walked back up our lane to my cottage. It was a few degrees below, and the sky was pin-sharp. Even I recognised Orion and the Plough - I picked out the North Star. Bearded Git would have been proud of me.

I stood outside the cottage, with frost and ice gleaming about me, marvelling at the sheer majesty of the whole experience. That's when I realised that for all these years I had got it wrong.

For Thirty Five Years I have been marvelling at the Big Picture. For Thirty Five Years I have been marvelling at my insignificance. Perhaps if I had spent the last twenty one of those Thirty Five Years marvelling at the beauty, grace and sheer good fortune of my life and it's happiness and place in the Cosmos I wouldn't be in the straits I find myself now. I should have been marvelling at the intimate, the personal and the small, warm hand held in mine.

Think about it. I am now and it hurts so much to realise my mistake.


  1. Worthy words Alan. And said with your usual inimitable style.


  2. Hi Alan, I know you've been through the mill lately. I hope everything works out ok.

    Am I right in thinking one of the things you feel guilty about is doing the LEJOG? If so, I think there is a reason someone feels the need to do these things - and you can't just brush that aside without satisfying it.

    I'm not good with words, and I'm not the academic type, so this may not make sense, but I read lately that there is a physical reason people feel the need to do these challenges - a chemical within the body causing it. I forget the in's and out's now, but if you are interested I'll dig out the article and give you more detail.

    I do hope everything works out.


  3. Succinct and telling, Alan. Good advice for all.


  4. Alan, you can't understand the big picture until you understand the details first. I have some resources that might of interest to you. Drop me a line if you want to know more. A couple of years ago I went through what you are going through now. It's a hard thing to come to terms with.

  5. Thanks everyone. I am hopeless in gettng back to comments - but I really do appreciate them.

    Sophie I would be fascinated to hear more of this theory - it's something I have long believed (with no basis in fact - just a hunch!)
    If you could dig it out I would be delighted.

    WP - I would love to hear more - I need all the help I can get!

    Many thanks All

  6. Alan, only just noticed that you had replied to this batch of comments. I don't want to leave my email address open to spammy web spiders by posting it here (it hadn't occurred to me that it wasn't possible to send a private message using blogger). Anyhoo, drop me a line here with your email address and I'll see what I can do to help!


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