Piccadilly paradox

The other day travel news reported severe delays on the Piccadilly line.

Not in itself unusual.

However, the postscript revealed that the severe delays were due to a shortage of trains.

Where did they go?

Is someone scratching their head, muttering "I'm sure they were there last night"?

Maybe someone forgot to lock the train shed doors and they slipped away for an adventure of their own? Right now, they're chuffing along on the outer reaches of the Metropolitan line – gone for a day out in Amersham.

Maybe someone parked them all in the wrong siding and train drivers are meandering all over Cockfosters calling for their lost trains?… "Fenton!"

Maybe the fat controller said "park them at Harrow" and was misheard? Trains are right now queued up at Heathrow instead.

Anyone seen the trains?

I hope they're found before Monday.

not the mannequin challenge

img_0520

In a world or urgency, a life of striving, a treadmill of anxious achievement, one thing seems to be increasingly necessary. An antidote to the stresses of this harder, faster, greater, further, more more more existence.

Stillness.

Not in itself a thing. You cannot hold it. It has no form. Stillness isn’t just freezing your limbs, fixing your gaze, holding your breath.

Stillness is a way of being. It is the gap between the doing.  A deeper consciousness. An awareness of your very existence.

Stillness offered another is truly a gift. A place from which connection comes. A foundation for attention. Being with.

Stillness within. That is the real challenge.

off the grid in a hot tub

North Carolina

Watching the sun set through a gap in the tree line, whilst enjoying a beer in a hot tub. Rocking gently in chairs as old as the cabin, whilst the twilight and sounds of the forest consumed our awareness. The porch our new domain. Waking in the morning to the sounds of rainfall on the tin covered cabin roof, echoing through the silence of our isolation.

I have spent two days, off grid. No 4G, 3G or 2G, no wifi, or signal of any description.

It seemed strange and in contrast to a few days earlier in the Washington DC metro where, on a platform of maybe fifty people, I had counted only six who were not engaged with their mobile phone.

We live in an Internet world. So much so, that to be without it for only two days seems unfamiliar. As if something is missing. It seems frustrating because connection with the outside world is lost. Yet what is rediscovered is a connection with a different outside world. One of nature, contemplation, beauty.

The cabin had a visitor book, where many before us had recorded their message after their stay. A book. Even that a throwback to a time recently lost. Not an online feedback or comments page, no star rating or ‘liking’. Instead personal messages to our host. Many had recorded their enjoyment of the isolation and total peace.

There was something pleasing to write our thoughts, knowing that other travellers would happen by, to this cabin in the forest, and read and share with others past, present and future.

where does the unseen go?

illuminateddandelion.com

Are yawns passed on from person to person?

Do yawns travel the globe; as people of all nations, all creeds, succumb to the inevitable copying of the yawn they have just observed?

Are yawns like a Mexican wave? A chain reaction? Passing across humanity like an unheard scream?

How many are there? How many are travelling from person to person at any one moment? How many open mouths and deep breaths are currently occurring, right now?

And, what happens if a yawn is unseen? Does the yawn die?

Do yawns only continue to exist in this world because several people seeing a single yawn will replicate it, twin it? Maybe twinned yawns compensate for dying yawns? Maybe this is how the yawn species survives? Clever.

 

the formative journeys of a shared t-shirt dream

we share a dream

When we travel, we are sometimes physically apart from those we are most connected to. Family. Friends. Yet physical connections are only one way we share our lives.

This amazing t-shirt display at Buffalo International Airport (the picture only shows half) is an installation by Kaarina Kaikkonen, who works with large amounts of clothing to alter our perception of our shared spaces and shared lives. The 1000 t-shirts, which are tied together, were donated by the people of western New York. The linking of the shirts signals our movements together – the daily commutes, the migratory moments of our travels and the formative journeys we take in our lives.

It is called ‘We share a dream’.

Nice thought Kaarina.

disconnected histories from somewhere or elsewhere…

image

I’ve been there before… or have I?

Leaving Massachusetts, travelling through New Hampshire and up into Vermont the other day, we passed some familiar places. Familiar in another land, found in an unfamiliar sequence here. Winchester, Reading, Andover, Londonderry, Manchester, Grantham, Lebanon…

So what’s in a name I wonder?

If you are from Andover in Hampshire in the UK, I guess that particular Andover might have meaning, history, personality even. We didn’t stop, but I imagine the Andover in Massachusetts might be  very different. As indeed might the Andover we saw a sign for in New Hampshire. Andovers, born in many places, descended from one perhaps?

And if we say, “I’m from Andover,” what does that really mean? Especially if the Andover in New Hampshire was once born from the Andover in Hampshire?

Many of us get names given to us which are that of a grandparent, or great grandparent. Family names handed down.

But names are not only a throw back to the past, to a previous generation, and a remembering of someone long lost. They are also a means of handing down history to a future generation. An acknowledgement and a gift for safe keeping. A way to continue existence on into the future.

I wonder if the residents of Andover NH are even aware of the British town? Just like many of us given an old family name from a generation past; never met, never known.

History is weird like that. Gone, but desperately remembered. We somehow need the roots of a past, even when it is a past never experienced or indeed long lost to us.

It’s as if we need to be reassured we came from somewhere. And when we know what that somewhere was called, we call ourselves, today, now, the same thing. Thereby connected, thereby grounded, thereby real. We exist.

are they? really?

I received an email yesterday.

Not in itself newsworthy I grant you.  I had a few.  Too many in fact.

This one though stood out.

After the brief message it ended…
KR
Name

I had to read it several times. The KR puzzled me. Was it a mistake? An inadvertent lean on the keyboard? Some coded message perhaps? Or maybe the first two initials of the writer, with an unplanned carriage return before the rest of the name?

Then it dawned on me… kind regards.

But are they?

If I cannot be bothered to type the words, are they really kind regards? I certainly didn’t receive it that way. In fact I felt this person showed little regard for me at all with this shorthand, can’t be bothered, nod to politeness.

Even when technology is used, we surely need to pay attention to the relationship, the messages we unconsciously send, the rapport we create or don’t. Text based exchanges already lose out on conveying tone of voice, facial expression, mood, a smile. If we resort to abbreviated proxies for any attempted human connection, all is lost.