Day 28 – colours for today – black and white due to the subject matter and the bird involved.
I’m walking along a wide bend of the Swan River, soothed by the peaceful lap of the tidal water and the occasional water bird. I catch a glimpse of a pelican riding the ripples. They are such unique looking birds.
‘”Oil is above all a great temptation. It is the temptation of ease, wealth, strength, fortune, power. It is a filthy, foul smelling liquid that squirts obligingly up into the air and falls back to earth as a rustling shower of money. To discover and possess the source of oil, it feels as if after wandering long underground you have suddenly stumbled upon a royal treasure. Not only do you become rich, but you are also visited by the mystical conviction that some higher power has looked upon you with the eye of grace and magnanimously elevated you above all others, electing you his favourite. The concept of oil expresses perfectly the eternal human dream of wealth achieved through lucky accidents, through a kiss of fortune and not by sweat, anguish, hard work. In this sense, oil is a fairy tale and like every fairy tale, a bit of a lie.”‘
I am listening to a podcast and this quote is taken from a book written quite some time ago by a Polish journalist, Richard Kapuchinski. I’ve never heard of him till now, but I find the flowery quote riveting. His book is called Shah of Shahs and is about the last Shah of Iran.
This same podcast has updated me during the past week on the current world crisis with an historical overview of Russia from the days of Stalin up to this chilling moment in time.
Today, the podcast airs a discussion between two historians and a political economist who has just written a book on oil and how it affects the situation in Ukraine.
On my return home, my mind feels overwhelmed by the evil machinations of so many people in power and the dulling sense of history repeating itself. The water is being whipped into undulating waves by a strong autumn wind. Beak on chest, the pelican rides the waves and keeps moving forward. How does it succeed without any apparent effort?
My unease persists, the feeling that I should be doing something. Later in the day, I hear about a woman who is getting into her car in Poland and driving to the border. She brings women and children back with her to safety, the few she can fit in on each trip.
I suddenly realise that she has found her pelican rhythm.
At my weekly zoom staff meeting in the afternoon, we discuss all the usual issues, daily classroom happenings, a few problems and how to solve them. Then one of the teachers tells me about a boy who has fallen on a rock at home over the weekend and cut his chin quite badly. His mum hasn’t taken him to a doctor. She is applying ‘home remedies’ (some kind of poultice made from leaves). I ask her to take him to a local clinic tomorrow and make sure the wound is not infected and to check if anything else needs to be done. I am as far away from the school as I am from Ukraine, but now I can do something.
I’ve found my pelican rhythm.
Pelican so still
ploughing into wavy swell
eyes forward feet hidden
that’s how you succeed
in weathering the storm
And a postscript to yesterday’s post, this is Ruby in her basket ready to go to school!