I live in the city. However, I long for the countryside. I love being on the grass, amongst the trees and in places where the sky is big. Then it’ll start to get dark, and I pine for the security of the city where a solitary toad laboriously crossing the road becomes precious and the glimpse of a fox darting behind a parked car feels like a flash of inspiration.
Cygnus is now part-based in the city and part in the deepest countryside. No one can tie it down or declare it to be one thing or the other. It will go wherever it is guided, or allowed to go, by its members, in a spirit of openness, of being kind and tolerant and of always looking for the spiritual, the special, that warm glow of “something else” in very everyday situations.
There’s that proverb that no one can actually trace back to its origins “May you live in interesting times”. Some people call it a curse but I see it as a challenge. We tend to believe that this present moment will always qualify as “interesting” – it’s human nature to think so – but what about now? Well, I doubt that anyone can deny that these are interesting times. They are difficult times too for many: various norms are being overturned and progress that people thought was positive is now being reversed. However in the spirit of openness, we have also to accept that there will be friends and companions on the path who will also be welcoming many of the changes. Nothing has to be as simple as we might at first think (although, having said that, it can still be just that simple!).
Many people though will be stressed and in pain. In which case, wherever we live, we have to look for that spark, that hint of beauty, whenever we see it: in a grove of trees or the eyes of a horse grazing in a field, or on the other hand in a beautiful line of brickwork on an old urban Victorian warehouse or the everyday struggles of the haggard looking pigeon on the ledge outside our window, just trying to get by.
We have to make an effort to appreciate that beauty in our own lives as often as possible, and to be that beauty to the people around us, to our friends who might be finding things tough or the harassed worker serving us our lunch at the till.
The “spiritual” is always there. It never goes away but rather just waits to be rediscovered, and it will soon come back into the light, in a stronger and more inspiring way. I think we all know that. It might take years, or decades even, but it will return. As Tracy Chapman sang back in the 1980s, finally the tables are starting to turn. We know what we have to do – be the instruments for that revolution…
Wishing you well
Adam Gordon is the Editor of the Cygnus Review. This letter was published in the Spring 2017 Cygnus Review.