The elements are part of our lives in a multitude of ways, some more obvious than others. Today, the first ‘official’ day of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, seemed a perfect occasion to explore a day in my life with the elements. These experiences are shared and connect us, wherever we are in the world.
The day starts with a light drizzle, soft on the ground and the skin. Early in the morning I walk to a nearby beach. The waves are pounding and the birds singing. The clouds mute the sunrise. It is still a wonder of nature and provides light and energy during the day.
Coming home I boil some water, have a coffee, some breakfast and a shower. The water is heated by electricity and the food cooked over gas, extracted from the earth. In many parts of the world people would be using wood and/or dung to provide cooking fuel and heat.
I listen to Shakuhachi, Japanese flute music – full of spirit, carried through the air. The invisible element. My breathing is automatic, and essential.
The rain and wind become heavier, it is cool and I turn the electric heater on. Our modern equivalent of fire. The power comes from water, hydro-electricity in action.
My work is conducted from a home office, reliant again on electricity. We really notice it when the wild winds knock down the power lines and cut off our supply. It happens from time to time. It makes you appreciate how dependent the ‘developed’ world has become on this form of energy, over a relatively short period of human history.
The technology I use to communicate with the world, including through this blog, is an amalgam of plastic (made from petrol), metal, rare earths and amazing creativity. The Wi-Fi signal which links my devices is transmitted, like sound, through air.
I am fortunate to be able to afford and enjoy three meals a day. Each meal represents a marvel of the elements – a combination of earth, water, fire, air and spirit. I thank all those involved in its production, including the farmers, distributors, sun, rain and soil.
In the afternoon I visit the post-office – ‘snail-mail’ still has a role to play. The car I drive is fuelled by fossilised plants, again extracted from the earth.
In the hours before sleep I cook, read and listen to music. There’s a show on TV about volcanoes called ‘Coundown to a Catastrophe’. The birds have stopped singing, except for the occasional plover. The waxing crescent moon peaks through the clouds.
So ends the story of a spring day in my waking life with the elements. Now to the world of dreams.