A day for reflecting.

Riverside Photo CC BY Teresa MacKinnon @warwicklanguage

Today is a national day of reflection . I have to admit that this seems to be muddied by some of the many awful things going on at the moment but I marked this day in my calendar and started my gym session this morning with a determination to reflect and to learn from that process, despite all the competing noise. To set the tone I undertook my gym session this morning to a selection of Simon and Garfunkel songs, hoping they would help to calm my mind. Driven on by Maha Bali’s recent blog post inciting us to write at every opportunity here are the thoughts that arose from my reflections.

I am including the soundtrack as it prompted many unexpected reflections.

My son and his partner are in the process of buying their first home together and we expect to help them move from their little rented home to a little place of their own in the coming days. They have been together for many years and this will be a big commitment, not least because they carry student debt and our inflation is running rampant…first world problems I guess. This song took me to the hopes and dreams of young people, longing to make their way in the world and achieve their dreams. Despite the challenges, having faced a pandemic and facing the threat of a 3rd World War…hope springs eternal.

The Sound of Silence

“Fools said I you do not know, silence like a cancer grows” This line took me to a world where money seems to be the only communication valued by our government. Money talks. Having reduced opportunities for language learning which would support greater intercultural understanding, the UK has been put in the thrall of the oligarchs, leaving us morally bankrupt as a society. The silence resulting from the lack of attention to a language policy has left us uninformed, without the expertise needed to make sense of our international relations. Instead flags and little England politics invade our every media message. The UK govt gives voice to those who do not care for others and silence those who do.

7 o’clock news/silent night

As if to remind me that the horror we are seeing played out now is nothing new, this track shocked me into a new recognition. Nixon (a below average President) saying “opposition to the war (Vietnam at the time) in this country is the greatest single weapon working against the US” could have been Putin. We have seen the arrests on the streets of Moscow, ordinary Russians making a brave stand against the “military operation” waged by their army. Plenty to reflect upon there.

May seem unlikely this one, it is one of my favourite S+G songs. Immediately reminded me of the footage on TV from Kyiv. A zoo keeper greeting his wolves through their cage. They were licking him through the bards, tails wagging like pet dogs. Completely dependant upon his help in the midst of shelling. I have found the images of Ukraine’s people fleeing their country carrying pet animals as precious cargo just so overwhelming as it illustrates their humanity. One of the things that makes us human is our care for all living things.

Bridge over troubled water

A classic track for reflection perhaps. Over the past few years I have experienced friends, colleagues and family going through very tough times. Times we did not imagine. More recently, we are witnessing a European war which puts us all at greater risk than we would have believed possible only a few years ago. Some have not survived, many are forever changed by their experiences. I have been fortunate to see great kindness extended: homes opened to refugees, hearts and arms opened to offer comfort and restoration. This is the reality of the best of human nature. I hope you have time to reflect today, and I hope those reflections influence your future in a positive way.

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