The bare, Spartan space just outside my window – which I can just see if I crane my neck a little just beyond its normal range – is just that, barely noticeable. At least it was until a few days ago when swivelling in my chair, the profusion of reds and yellows it has become caught my eye. So certain was I that the flowers were new that at an opportune moment, when I could pretend it was a casual question, I asked one of the guys to confirm. It turns out that I was right, the flowers had not always been there. The coming of a certain big man in a couple of days had prompted the ground staff into sprucing up our surroundings. I am thankful for the splash of colours which will remain with us for a bit at least, but what I came away with was the sense that big men everywhere carried weight. It is a truism, as an old teacher liked to say.
The end of January marked another milestone, six months out here at the edge of the world. Sidebar: there is actually some place called the edge of the world out here I hear, with sunrises which are something to behold. Unfortunately there is an internal lock down again but I have made a mental note to plan for extended weekend outside the province I am in. O’s up for it which should marginally increase the likelihood of it happening. So six months out here then which brings with it a slight sense of having weathered a storm of sorts. Finally getting an Abu name helps with that sense of settling in I suppose.
With shut borders and all, it doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere anytime soon which means one must make my seat at the edge of the world home, or as close to it as it can be. Several times over the past few months I’ve gone back to Nicky Gumbel’s talk from October where he talked about flourishing where you’re planted. It is what it is.
- Jim Al-Khalili, one those British Scientists in the public sphere and host of The Life Scientific, came on to Intelligence Squared to chat about his new book, The World According to Physics; read quantum mechanics, relativity and thermodynamics with Helen Czerski. I still haven’t finished Quantum though so I’ll have to add this to my burgeoning list of things to read someday.
- Alan Jacobs weighs in on love and death, and takes on the idea that the death of an 85 year old is less troubling than that of a 25 year old. To use that Trumpism, there are good people (ideas) on both sides
- A head scratcher that touches bitcoin tangentially. I’m filing this in the but why? tickler file.
- Amy Bleeder’s Fever, read on the Poetry Foundation podcast, somehow brought memories of malaria induced delirium to my mind vividly. Thank God for prophylactics!
- The Love Thy Neighbourhood folk (and Skye Jethani) dissect the Evangelical Industrial Complex. Well worth a listen if like me you’re left confused by America
- Finally, a more uplifting export from America as Fred Hammond and Monica Coates chat extensively on Worship Central. Commissioned, Integrity Music’s Urban Praise series and the stories behind personal favourites Glory to Glory and Blessed come up.