A day in our lives with the elements

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.Birds on beach Sept 1 2014

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.

The official declaration of spring is way behind the plants and animals, which are already flowering and starting to breed. We have been enjoying some blossoms from our kitchen window now for weeks.Spring blossoms Aug 5 2014

The native plants are starting to flower as well. Like this Blue Gum. It has been a mild winter, temperatures are getting warmer, earlier. Climate change in action.Blue gum blossom Aug 21 2014

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.

Vegetables, rice and olive paste - served on a ceramic plate, sitting on a wooden table - a marvel of the elements

Vegetables, rice and olive paste – served on a ceramic plate, sitting on a wooden table – a marvel of the elements.

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.

The sun sets at 5.50 pm.  The waves are still pounding, an endless cycle of varying intensities. The rain has cleared and the twilight is a spectacular combination of sight and sound. Very elemental.Twilight Sept 1 2014

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.


4 thoughts on “A day in our lives with the elements

  1. I really enjoyed having some insight into this elemental day in your life. You have beautifully identified how the elements are at the basis of everything we do and see – teasing each activity gently apart and then joining it all back together.

    • Being aware of the elements in our lives and their different expressions makes each day even more interesting. Today there are blue skies and the sun is shining brightly – quite different to yesterday. While the fundamental nature of the elements stays the same, they express themselves in seemingly endless variety.

  2. This blog is a great reminder that we are in the presence of the elements at all times in out life. It made me more mindful and appreciative of them in my daily actions, well done.

    • The elements are so much a part of our lives, whether we live in cities or in rural/remote areas, that it can be easy to lose sight of their importance and influence. I’m pleased that this post served as a gentle reminder that they are definitely something to be appreciated, admired and enjoyed!

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