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autumn days

November 20, 2011

It has been an absolutely wonderful day. Clear crisp skies, with just a hint of chill in the air. We have just got back from a stroll along the canal (Leeds to Liverpool Canal) from Salterforth into Barnoldswick. It is lovely to smell the wood smoke in the air, and to watch as people prepare for a cosy night tucked up on their narrow boat.

What better way to spend the weekends that seem to be designed for hibernation. I can imagine the lazy mornings waking to the lap of the water against the boat (do canals lap?), hearing the persistent squabbling of the ducks and swans, and maybe once the morning warms up nipping out for a paper.

Idyllic – mostly because it is an escape from the hustle and bustle of responsibilities, and not just the responsibilities of work, of earning money to pay the mortgage, but also the expectation and responsibilities of preparing for Christmas, of being jolly and ensuring those around us are jolly, of…

Our need to escape, to switch off, to enjoy the peace and quiet, to relax and disengage with the pressures and stresses of life are enormous. So we need spaces to disappear into, places that are open and undeveloped and … well natural, places to reconnect with the great world out there, to clear our heads and get some perspective on life again.

But when we come back, it is to those pressures. In fact I noticed a significant number of narrow boats for sale as we walked, the sure sign that the recession is biting as hard as the morning frost. We need spaces to chill, but even more desperately we need a new perspective on life. Unless we somehow stop insisting that economies must always grow, that life is about getting more money to spend of things, we can do nothing more than lurch from one crises to the next. Perhaps just having enough and being content and thankful could be more than a pipe dream, it could just be a new way of living.

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