Thursday, April 15, 2010

Perspective

Right now in the UK all aircraft are grounded until 7am tomorrow morning. That's everything. All UK airspace is closed. Nothing is flying in or out of UK airports. Nobody can even fly over us. I think this is rather cool.

Way up above the UK and a little to the left, out in the Atlantic Ocean is Iceland. One of their volcanoes went off and has sent up an ash cloud which is currently passing over the UK. Down here at ground level it's no big deal. As I came down the A40 this evening on my bike I got a whiff of what seemed like damp fireworks. I don't know if that was the ash cloud or whether there was something else going on. It is apparently way above us at about 11km up where the planes fly. Down here we have blue skies and a pleasant evening.

We're kind of lucky in the UK. We have a temperate climate, no volcanoes, and the ground is thankfully not prone to opening up or shaking unexpectedly as it does in so many other parts of the world. We don't get cyclones, hurricanes, monsoons or typhoons. We don't get landslides on the scale we see in other parts of the world. On the whole, nothing much happens. If it wasn't for the Gulf Stream which brings warm air and warmish water to our shores we'd have the same climate as Moscow which as you may know, is no fun at all.

Quirky little anomalies like today however are always an opportunity for the media to go into overdrive. Typically, if the temperature varies more than five degrees away from the norm for the time of year - which is frankly the best we can hope for in terms of excitement - newsrooms clear their schedules and reporters are sent across the land to inform us in the minutest detail of exactly what is (usually not) happenning.

What I like about events like this is that it shows us that the planet still runs us, we don't run the planet. We are simply passengers, mere specs of nothing, here for no significant amount of time and subject to the whims of far greater natural forces which, at a moment's notice can stop us in our tracks. We flatteringly call ourselves custodians of the planet but we're really nothing more than janitors with an overinflated opinion of ourselves.

Last night as I went to bed we were unaware of this impending event. This morning, a mere six hours later and the country is apparently in turmoil. It isn't by the way. By lunchtime tomorrow things will be back to normal and people will be back to complaining about the price of petrol and what colour to paint the garden shed

Our politicians and scientists would have us believe we can influence the behaviour of this giant lump of rock we live on as it careers through the cosmos. We can't. The best we can do is respect it, appreciate it, enjoy it and look after it as best we can, leaving it as tidily as we found it when we arrived and just hope, that while we're here, it doesn't do anything too nasty to us. And if it does, then it's nothing personal, it's called nature and we're simply a tiny little part of it.

As a species, we really need to get things into perspective.

3 comments:

nursemyra said...

What colour is your garden shed?

sabrina said...

"What I like about events like this is that it shows us that the planet still runs us, we don't run the planet. We are simply passengers, mere specs of nothing, here for no significant amount of time and subject to the whims of far greater natural forces which, at a moment's notice can stop us in our tracks. We flatteringly call ourselves custodians of the planet but we're really nothing more than janitors with an overinflated opinion of ourselves."

Wow!!!!! Very nicely said!

King of Scurf said...

nursemyra:I'd love a nice shed nursemyra. I would spend my evenings wondering about how I might decorate it.

Saby: Thanks Saby. On hindsight, it's not bad is it.