Summer Doldrums



Gatteville lighthouse, north-eastern point of the Cotentin,
light visible from the Isle of Wight

Time has gone by since I last wrote anything here. Since my last posting, I have been at the campsite at Barfleur, and we will be returning home next Sunday. The Dog Days are over, and the past ten days or so have been characterised by cloudy weather and a westerly wind. I have my small boat Σοφία with me, much easier to launch and recover than Sarum, but less capable in stronger winds and chop.

Without doubt, I will be writing a little more on returning home. Church news has been quite depressing, especially the uncovering of yet more child abuse by clergy and covering-up by bishops. Our world seems to be polarising more and more between liberalism and the nationalist right. My own country faces more debates over Brexit, and those of us living in EU countries face having to apply for things like residence permits and driving licences. People become jittery, hysterical and anxious.

My thoughts turn towards my article for the next Blue Flower. I am presently re-reading Rob Riemen’s Nobility of Spirit: A Forgotten Ideal which jumps about from one illustration of the ideal to another. However, the central theme is reflected in this quote:

Nobility of spirit is the great ideal! It is the realization of true freedom, and there can be no democracy, no free world, without this moral foundation. Whitman’s masterpiece, his whole vision, is exactly about this: life as a quest for truth, love, beauty, goodness, and freedom; life as the art of becoming human through the cultivation of the human soul. All this is expressed by ‘nobility of spirit’: the incarnation of human dignity.

The same theme is reflected in Romanticism and its offshoots throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This is something to revive us when we go through bouts of nihilism, acedia and Sartre’s La Nausée, usually provoked by other people whose ideals in life are not ours.

We will be breaking camp on Saturday and returning home.

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