Cornwall Cogitation Saturday 25 February 2017 Muddy paths this week led me back to my childhood. Water soaked soil, sticky clay, puddles, mire and splatter, we had it all. And more.
On Sunday afternoon, following Parish Communion led by Rev Carlyn and her husband Geraint Wilton, we walked with the Helston Footpath Association through wet fields and muddy paths along the River Cober. Twice we crossed the river on stepping stones. It was a gray, drizzly afternoon, nonetheless invigorating, if you will. I purposely left my camera at home for the day.
We joined more than 30 walkers with the West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society for a circular walk of 4.5 miles. We stopped for our packed lunch and ended with a visit to the National Trust’s Trengwainton Garden Tea Room.
Trengwainton is a complex of five walled gardens set amid a mature woodland. We’ll have to go back to see the magnolias, acacias, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. One garden, if I recall correctly from a visit in 2010, is the size of Noah’s Ark.
Tuesday we got ourselves to Hell’s Mouth and walked the South West Coast Path back to Hayle. We stopped for lunch at the National Trust’s Godrevy Café. Refreshing pause, if you will.
We saw the wild Shetland ponies the National Trust has placed there to graze the headland and heathland. We also heard the grey seals before we saw them high above their beach.
Wednesday we walked in Truro, ending with Evensong at the Cathedral. Evensong stirs spiritual embers. A dozen of us sat behind the singers. Their voices illuminated eternal truths as did the scriptures read. We joined in singing a hymn, “The duteous day now closeth, / Each flower and tree reposeth, / Shade creeps o’er wild and wood: / Let us, as night is falling, / On God our Maker calling, / Give thanks to him, the Giver good.” It’s a hymn by Paul Gerhardt (1607-76) translated from the German by Robert Bridges (1844-1930).
Second stanza: “Now all the heavenly splendor / Breaks forth in starlight tender / From myriad worlds unknown; / And man, the marvel seeing, / Forgets his selfish being, / For joy of beauty not his own.” Stanza 3 and 4 pictured at the end of this blog. Evensong, as the day, again proved a spiritual experience.
Thursday, a short walk
Thursday we bid farewell to Phyllis, Marty’s cousin, with whom we shared two fine weeks of walks, stories, food, church, news from home, and encounters with friends. All day we kept an eye on Storm Doris. Worst storm of the winter the media reported. Heavy winds blew through the area. Marty dealt with a runny nose and related aches and pains. Continuing on the mend.
Friday, a walk to Tesco Supermarket
This two-mile round trip walk showed us the starting-to-flower tulip tree. Rounded up a supply of food, other supplies and meds. It all fit into my backpack and two carrier bags. Friends offered to drive us there but the walk was just right for the day.
An old prayer
You may have come across this 17th Century Nun’s Prayer: “Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion, Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but You know Lord that I want a few friends at the end.”
The prayer goes on, ending, “Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me O Lord, the grace to tell them so.” The prayer appears on a bookmark I got at Kenwyn Church in Truro where we stopped on our Wednesday walk and journey for Evensong.
The changing landscape of jobs
Automation on a large scale is replacing humans on the job. Some estimate that in the next 20 years a significant number of meaningful jobs categories will go away. That’s a real social challenge. There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better than a human. Think self-driving cars. Think self-driving trucks, Think warehouse operations. Think repetitive manufacturing jobs. Think accounting. Just think, a guaranteed basic income for the jobless.
Bill Gates has proposed that robot workers be taxed the same way we tax human workers. Elon Musk suggests that we adopt universal basic income. I gather these thoughts from an 18 February article by Quincy Larson in Medium Daily Digest and a 25 February article in the New York Times, “The Future of Not Working,” by Annie Lowry.
Check it out. Finland, Canada, India, Namibia, Utrecht in the Netherlands and Scotland are doing trials of the idea in 2017.
We’ve had the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, now the Technological Revolution? OneDirectly, a nonprofit organization funded largely by Silicon Valley, is spearheading efforts in poor villages in Kenya, that is giving money instead of goods to the people. The NYT article is a fascinating read; the plan seems to be working where money is loaded on a mobile phone and transferred from cell phone of the buyer to the cellphone of the seller.
The text above is from Thomson Reuters. The future holds big promise in places with the poorer populations and where, as Elon Musk says, “robots will make ‘basic income’ necessary.”
Two more images from the day in Truro
An old saying, “Transfiguration, now the dishes.” Lunch dishes are almost done. Time for chocolate. Tea later. Thanks be to God for the wonders of life that let us see as through a glass darkly–and through mud upright and happy. Best!