Never The Twain…

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 “If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.”

    – Mark Twain

Pictured recently, yours truly, seated with a bronze statue of the great man (real name: Samuel Clemens). As close as I will get to meeting him!

I have long admired Twain’s wry humour and sage veracity.

Like the quote above – you laugh first and then the wisdom drags you in and sits you right down, as you reflect on hard life lessons.

I sometimes feel his writing gets me, rather than the other way around.

When I was a young man I took a Greyhound bus from Chicago to New Orleans ( helluva long ride!), and the road more or less followed the Mississippi River south after St. Louis. My best companion on the journey was Twain’s ‘Life On the Mississippi’, published in 1883 . A great read  – fantastic tales of diverse folk, working and up to all sorts otherwise, on the river back in the day (it’s well worth searching out).

It just made my trip feel damn boring by comparison though…

Calm Before The Calm

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      Orewa Beach, Auckland NZ

As calm as an ocean gets.

A beach as flat as a pancake.

Gorgeous, idyllic, serene et cetera.

Fantastic for a day, a week maybe.

What if your life was this scene, endlessly?

That’s not being calm, that’s becalmed ; the doldrums, in which your ship stalls.

Maybe it’s just me, but when matters are progressing really smoothly for any length of time, it’s easy to go on auto pilot, to think: “I’ve got this.”

And that’s precisely when I need to beware.

I don’t wish for turbulence, storms or (god forbid) shipwrecks but if they occur, they (if nothing else) take away my driftwood-like complacency…

 

 

Blow Your Own Chimney!

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       Chimney Tops, Pittenweem, Scotland

Albeit a bit of  a global warming horror show, I was delighted at this rooftops vista in Fife.

Rows and rows of chimney pots like soldiers on parade. Dozens of the buggers! And hundreds more throughout the village…

It  wasn’t cold enough in mid-autumn for smoke to have been puffing from the chimneys.

Had it been, the ghost of my coal mining grandfather would surely have smiled…