Friday, 30 May 2014

Fierce Beauty

There we stood on the edge of an isolated coastline and the spray from windswept waves filled our nostrils with salt. The howling cries of air rushing through, what was left of, the leaves of low lying coastal vegetation and palm trees. The force of the wind was so strong, not only were we being physically pushed around, but the trees could be heard moaning in agony too.

Storms like this often pass along the coast of nothern Queensland. It is just the geography and the way it interacts with winds that have traveled several thousand kilometers across the Pacific Ocean, now the Coral Sea. Sometimes the winds blow for days, other times, like this day, they only lasted several hours. Lucky for us then, that there was a pub not far back down the road which provided us with a sensational lunch. (seafood of course).

After the wind had passed we ventured out and decided to ascend a local lookout.
Whitsunday Islands
The turquoise colours of the water now returned after the previous seaweed green during the storm and the local island chain was again visible. In amongst the waters are a myriad of coral reefs which can be seen as the dark patches in the water. What was not an hour ago hidden from view of the human eye, is now revealed in all its beauty. Where we were clutching at each other to keep our balance, we are now pushing each other away to stay cool as the sun beat down upon us as fiercely as the wind so recently had.

Yet looking down into the undergrowth on the inland side of this lookout were flourishing flowers, soft and delicate as they come.

How does such simple beauty stand in the face of this incredible force? Typical of the human condition many of us fold under the pressure of social force. Call it  peer pressure, bullying, intimidation, look we all know it is not easy to stand up straight in the face of pressure, let alone retain our beauty. 

This quote, wrongly attributed to that fake rapper Eminem, about sums up what is going on today. "I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you". Simple as that. This is a real 'do worse unto others as they do unto me' mentality. Somehow this gives people licence to hate someone who does not agree with their opinion. To bandy about terms like offence, insult, humiliation, even bigot, to reinforce their own brand of retribution. How could we remain steadfast in character when the winds of derision howl across the social landscape?

The flowers can do it in naturally sheltered pockets. Jesus did it in full view of history, indeed commending us to "love one another as I have loved you". Yet our culture has been segmented and individualised, not only by greedy corporations, but also by self promoting politicians eager to exploit and wedge our differences. 

The removal of pain is one if the highest motivating factors to our human character. To hide, indeed run, from pain and persecution, whether it is real or not. This is the hope offered by our modern cultural leaders, the removal of short term pain. Imagine Nelson Mandela thinking this way? No, me either.

So we all huddle on the leeward side of the mountain and enjoy the view, which at this time of year is quite serene as the cane fields are almost in full bloom and within weeks will be ready for harvest. Where there is fierceness there is also beauty. I hope whilst we huddle in shelter that we regain our sense of self, not in order to remain at rest and relaxation, but to once again stand together against the ferocity of the onslaught.

The world is an amazing place dear reader and together we make it a better place. Until next time. 

Let's Drive

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