The sun rose at 8.11am this morning in Capel Curig in rugged north Wales. Exactly, ninety minutes before that, I was heading south in my garden at my cottage, Tŷ Gwyn. And, it was oh-so cold.
‘Walking is also an ambulation of mind.’ Gretel Ehrlich
To put it into context, apparently, the UK is experiencing minus (Celsius) temperatures due to a ‘polar’ vortex moving across it. According to the Government’s Meteorological Office it wall last a couple of days. According to one newspaper, however, their headline read: UK Weather Alert: Britain to be smashed by Siberian Mega Freeze. To Last Until March.
Hyperbole? I hope so!
To be honest, this morning was ‘fresh’, it was about -2 Celsius, and yes, it was (lovely and) cold. Nose-stingingly cold. And, I as trudged to the end of the garden, I noticed there was rime on the trees; the air was fresher-than-fresh, the sun hasn’t risen, and all around me was an awesome, enveloping freezing fog that blotted out everything (almost). I couldn’t really see anything. Where was I? I wasn’t sure!
Lost in space? Sort of!
‘Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.’ Erol Ozan
And I revelled in that seemingly not-knowingness. Ofcourse, I knew where I was really, that is in my back-garden, but for a few seconds of not seeing anything to confirm exactly where I was, a great feeling of ‘lostness’ came over me, and it got me thinking.
For a few seconds the ‘guide wheels’ of my eyes were off, and I couldn’t see anything to locate myself precisely in the garden. I could have been anywhere. Maybe there was a vague outline of a tree to one side – but it looked ‘flat’ against the misty, seemingly sky-painted, white backdrop, and it could have been a small tree some twenty feet away or a huge tree about a hundred feet a away. I surmised the later, but I really had no way of knowing.
How sure are we?
That was the question I asked myself when, some thirty minutes later I was back in an oh-so-warm cottage. How sure are we? We live in an age of exaggeration – about the weather and other things, and a time of fake news. It’s not always the ones that shout loudest and proclaim that they now, not always the ones who alone say that they are right, who are infact right. They could be wrong? I like it when someone says, ‘I’m not quite sure’. For then there’s evidence of a questing spirit and potential progress can be made.
Gaelic has two wonderful words that come in useful here – regarding knowledge, fake news or that ‘in my garden locational lostness’.
Eolas in Irish Gaelic (but, call me biased, as I think the welsh word gwybodaeth sounds better, but then I’ve a Welsh heritage) means knowledge, but related to bland information. I had some ‘information’ about my garden and where I was located (roughly), though my perception was limited by the fog. Eolas, may relate to the bland news in a newspaper, that is, just reading it as it is presented to us, as fact. Superficial knowledge, without enquiry. It takes us so far.
‘People care much more for how things look than how things are.’ Donna Lynn Hope
Fios in Irish Gaelic (gwybod in Welsh) has an altogether deeper, questioning meaning. It means ‘to know’, to really know. Although I was in may garden, I knew in my heart where I was – even if I couldn’t see properly. Fios takes us further. This kind of knowing is akin to the knowledge between husband and wife. It’s deeper! More ‘intimate’. I might know a married couple, but that couple know each other!
And, so as I sat there, at the kitchen table with a hot drink to hand and thawing out, realising that we’re all presented with eolas, superficial knowledge; the real imperative – that only some do, sadly – is to ‘look beyond’, not just using our eyes, and to ‘see’ what is really there, really happening in our daily life and environment around us, really happening in the news and world around us, really happening in our spiritual walk, and to go deeper.
‘The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.’ W B Yeats
Some might say eolas is good, fios is better. Be inquisitive. Don’t accept surface answers. Explore. Ask. Seek. Go deeper.