Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I never quite understand where moods come from. Despite years of reading Jung, lying on a couch in Hampstead (where else?) and, of course, pondering the Human Condition, I am often forced to conclude I know nothing. This makes me mildly grumpy, since I like to think I know something, after all that damn education I had.
Lately I have been cranky and unsettled. I am not getting along with my new book as I should. I castigate myself mercilessly for not yet finding my rhythm. I tell myself I should be doing more, I should be doing better. Then I get even crosser because I think I really have nothing to complain about, when I have all my faculties, and live in a sturdy stone house with heat and light, and do not have to walk eight miles every morning with a heavy pot on my head just to get water.
Yet today, for no reason at all, I woke up smiling. Hope had returned, stealthily, in the night. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is because my dear old friend Sophie called last night, all the way from Santa Monica. Here is what I cherish about the old friendships: the shared history, the absolute understanding, the shouting laughter, the sense that we have been in it together for twenty-five years, and we shall go on for another twenty-five, contra mundum. It's more precious than emeralds. Perhaps it was because of that one telephone call that I got up today, did all my chores, returned emails, wrote nine hundred words, gave the dogs a proper long walk, and felt like a relatively competent human.
In this lovely new mood, I am accentuating the positive. It's Pollyanna Friday, children, because there is no sense in gloom and doom every day of the week. I find myself contemplating the miracles of modern life, instead of the failures and disappointments and tragedies.
Aside from the old friendships, one of the things that makes me smile is the internet. I do sometimes wonder if it is a force for Good. I sometimes wonder if the relentless hurling of news, as it happens, without break or pause, is entirely helpful. So much of the news is bad. Sometimes it seems it is all venal politicians, paedophile priests, greedy bankers, unrepentant warmongers, child killers, terrifying natural disasters, and rank economic collapse. It is quite hard to cling to the tiny, bobbing raft of optimism in the face of all that. There is an echoing, plaintive voice in my head that says: it was not supposed to be this way.
But, and it's a good, fat, meaty but, the place where you get the little shafts of light is out there in the webosphere. While the official television news and the print media seem almost wilfully determined to ignore any evidence of human goodness, kindness, cleverness, quirkiness or flat-out funniness, the internet revels in these things. It also embraces the majesty and sweetness of the animal kingdom (I admit there is an occasional cute overload, and I also admit I am not immune from a baby penguin, in These Troubled Times). Most unexpectedly of all, it embraces aesthetics. There is an amazing variety of sheer beauty on the web, from landscape to architecture, from modern design to ancient ruins, from photographs to faces.
Here are some of the things that are making me smile today:
The Brixton Zebra! Who knew? I have no idea why I find this so enchanting but I do:
It is from an delightful new site I have found called How to be a Retronaut, which features old, forgotten, archive photographs, rescued from obscurity and presented with love and care.
To continue the animal theme, have a look at the crazy climbing mountain goat:
You can just see the tiny little creature up there. There are several things I would like to know about this photograph (taken by someone called BetterPics). Where is it? How did that wild rock formation come about? Where on earth was the photographer standing to get such a shot? Is she or he sure it is a goat? If it is a goat, how did it get up there? And, more importantly, why? Is there some kind of mountain goat gene that drives them to scale the highest peaks just for the pure joy of the thing? Or is it lost?
On quite another note, the pleasure of a random red skirt:
This is from Allure Magazine, via the charming Australian blog Absolutely Beautiful Things. I'm not sure why I find it quite so pleasing. I have an irrational fondness for plain black umbrellas. I love a good fire engine red. I adore old junk shops. And my favourite colour is racing green. So I suppose that is why I like this photograph.
A gorgeous room filled with books, from the unassuming but often fascinating Home Sweet Home:
And only because I know you want them - BABY PENGUINS. Taken by the very talented Mr David C Schultz, of whom I had not heard until today:
I defy you not to feel a glimmer of happiness whilst looking at those. For some reason, they make me think of a group of old men coming out of a gentleman's club in St James, huddled up in their winter coats, some time in 1932, probably discussing King Faisal and the newly independent Iraq, and wondering if they will find a cab, in this weather.
With or without penguins, I wish you all a lovely weekend.