|Just so you remember what it looks like... this is our rather nice part of the world!|
When it blows, I guess the world will peel like an apple!
|We had an early Christmas dinner with a friend on Wednesday evening, but I don't think we talked much about the end of the world, we just enjoyed his company and the food was too good for end of the world angst!|
imagine... "Hey Elmer, wake up...., is that the smoke alarm?" "Yep Darl, I put in a new battery yesterday so we'll know when it is the end of the world!"
But stockpiling guns... well, those are not funny at all!
Very much middle aged and boring, I feel something of a veteran when it comes to the end of the world. When I was an infant, America and Russia were at the height of the "cold war", nuclear bomb tests were thundering away above and below ground and there was a sense of nations on the brink of catastrophe. Later we had global cooling... yes, that's what I was told at school... and oil was going to run out in the 1980s.
In my late teens and early 20s I listened to Evangelical and Pentecostal preachers proclaim that the world would end in 1984 or about then... they liked to blur things slightly, just in case God was a little late, or early. God would do it in His own time. Hooray for God! You just had to be ready!
In the early 1980s we had a planetary line up that was going to cause huge sea level rise that would render much of the world uninhabitable. Then we had the year 2000 where runaway military computers would launch ICBMs, the national grid would shut down, tap water would cease to flow, and toilets would no longer work!
More recently we have lived through the threat of global pestilence in the form of SARS and bird flu and some ghastly stomach bug thing that I can't remember the name of.
And of course now there is global warming and chunks of the polar icecaps breaking off and melting, and our food is contaminated with genetically modified material, and we drink heavy metals in our water, fry our brains with microwaves, and char our lungs with second hand cigarette smoke!
It is such a risky business being alive!
And fear is corrosive and addictive.
Fear controls, suppresses and stifles.
Fear also pays well!
“Religion is based primarily upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly as the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death." Bertrand Russell.
Sadly, there is a great deal of rather uncomfortable truth in Russell's statement, and you could substitute other things for "Religion" too, try inserting the word "Government", "Police", "Insurance", "Pharmaceuticals", "alternative therapy", or "diet", and the result is quite thought provoking!
Well, what are we afraid of?
All of us die, it is probably The most certain thing about our life. Death is natural, it is just the way things are. Think of how awful and odd a garden would be if none of the plants ever died. If no petal ever dropped. Yet we are often persuaded that our death is not natural.
I used to be afraid of death, especially in my late teens to mid 20s. Interestingly, attending church made that fear worse, rather than better; when I think about it I was surrounded by people who were afraid to die! And there was all this stuff about sin and judgement. Death and disease were seen as a product of sin. I was probably well through my 30s before I started to see death as a natural process, and my heart gladdened at the thought of one day being compost and being a member of the natural world, and not a foreigner in it!
Potting is a very wholesome and marvellous thing. When I get my hands into clay I have a sense of wonder and respect for it. My fingers are sticky with history. And this is History with a capital "H" that is measured in a vast scale, in geological time not in puny human terms. The clay that I make a mug with was probably once part a hard rocky mountain that weathered away millions of years ago, long before the first hairy human stood on their short little legs!
|Me getting my hands in some clay. Photo by Rhonda.|
When I am tempted to feel overwhelmed with human things, it is most therapeutic to look out at something vaster and greater. It is also helpful to be absorbed in the "now" and not tied to the past, or threatened by the future. Clay spinning slowly on the wheel can help with that.
Now, here is a thought.....
If you left your granite kitchen bench out in the rain and frost for millions and millions of years, it could become potter's clay, just like the clay I use! Amazing isn't it!
Of course, whilst all this end of the world stuff has been going on, I have been busy. Below are a couple of photos. The first are mostly bowls waiting to be loaded into my electric kiln for a stoneware glaze firing. And the photo below that is of some new work drying on top of the kiln whilst the glaze firing is going on.
The kiln is due to be unloaded tomorrow.... the day after the end of the world!
Well, the end of the world (for the rest of you) happens in 7 hours 52 and 06 seconds... I just thought you would appreciate an update!
And as you can tell, the end of the world hasn't happened here as yet....
What's that??? Is that my smoke alarm going? I'll just go and......