SOMEWHERE out there are some professionals on an away day, being encouraged
by their enabler to dream dreams or, as she puts it, to engage in "blue-sky
But you're not there. You're with a friend in a supermarket. He's wondering
why people can't stack things properly. "I mean, it's not exactly rocket
science," he says. On getting home, you turn on the radio, where the sports
reporter is wondering whether the team can come back from two goals down. "It's
a big ask," he says.
The end of the world is clearly nigh as the enabler, your friend, and the
sports commentator work "24-7" to kill communication. A phrase is coined, and
then re-coined into tedious oblivion, leaving our language littered with the
tired formulations of lazy minds. We would like to think for ourselves, to
allow fresh wonders to grace our consciousness, but we have only borrowed speak
with which to work.
Oh, to converse with a Martian!
And as a first step, thanks to the NASA space probe, we will soon receive
new pictures of Mars. We already have about 100,000 snapshots, but, although
curiosity killed the cat, it tends to save humans; so I'm looking forward to
There are probably no Martians there at present. It's a cold
planet, with an average surface temperature of minus 63 degrees - chilly even
for an English spring. The radio presenter this week assumed that Mars,
being red, must be very hot, but the studio boffin explained to her that the
red hue was merely rust from its iron core.
Could there once have been Martians? The dry river beds, valleys, and flood
plains intrigue people, suggesting flowing water three or four billion years
ago, when Mars was a warmer, wetter world - and perhaps one fit for the
development of life. In 1997, NASA scientists even claimed that a meteorite
from Mars held chemical traces of ancient life - maybe even microscopic fossils.
Space exploration. Fascinating. But it's not exactly rocket science - and
may in fact be something of an emotional half-holiday compared with the more
demanding Lenten exploration into the fetid and fine crevices of our serious
The golden rule in this exploration is to ignore any
phrase - religious or otherwise - with which we are familiar. Your familiar way
lost its power to create new energy some time ago; its airless and grandiose
pretensions now merely stifle life. Rather, seek language all dewy and fresh,
and pay attention to your body.
But such blue-sky thinking, 24-7 -
it's a big ask.