It seems that studying Plato, master of the philosophical analogy has rubbed off on me. In a system in which the interlinking of government and capitalism has created a politically endorsed economy, the original foundations have been oft neglected and I wanted to get back to how, at least in theory, our public and private sectors interlink.
I was brought up in an agnostic house- my parents were not particularly interested in religion and made it plain to us three children that we could do whatever we wanted. In a sense I am grateful to my parents who both came from relatively liberal families and were not that ingrained with God and the rest.
Last year, while I was home alone, I had discovered something that sent a wave of shock through me. I had ventured into the basement for a work out when it was to my dismayed surprise that I noticed a very old robin stuck in our window well. I knew he was old because he he had grey tufts of hair surrounding his head like a halo, and the poor little guy didn't move very much.
The anthropologist Rapport, who wrote extensively on ritual, noted that masks do not always disguise, they often transform and actually display identity. They "coordinate the iconicity, the signs of identity in any particular cultural context." Rather than conceal, they become an agent of revelation.
Dawn is accompanied by thousands of individual birds advertising their whereabouts and protecting their territories. Together this avian choir awakens the new day with birdsong. The time of the chorus varies around the world, from around 4 a.m. in northern temperate areas, 6 a.m. in the tropics, and as late as 8 a.m. in the southern hemisphere.
England is on the verge of breaking into full spring at the moment; some trees are in full bloom, some are only halfway through while others are only just starting to show signs of life. Seeing the resilience and beauty of nature is reassuring and feels somehow symbolic of how my dad is willing me and my family to move through our still overwhelming grief.
I'm no expert but the very wet and mild winter that we're having must be very confusing for our feathered friends. Their biological clocks will have started to tick early as they will be thinking that we're heading towards the first day of spring rather than being stuck still in the middle of winter. That's the beauty of nature: you don't need to be Sir David Attenborough to understand how the weather is affecting the natural world...
It's a good job Forrest Reid didn't write to be famous. Almost seventy years after his death, his novels gather dust in libraries: unthumbed and unadmired. Highly thought of by friends like E.M. Forster and Walter de la Mare during his lifetime, the Ulster writer has since fallen into obscurity. Until now, that is.