A brush with time

ImageA modern zen Koan: A 19th century house in the Provence versus an off-spec Barratt Home in Milton-Keynes. Spot the difference.

Duh, I hear you think but hold it right there because I’m having a brush with time.

Wind back to the 19th century, and look at this beautiful new home in the Provence. A married couple has just moved in. He’s a lawyer and she’s his trophy wife. I can’t begin to count the hours she’s been looking at curtain fabrics and bathroom fittings. The architect has been bugging her about the kitchen tiles but she’s got the cash so he can bloody well wait.

They grew old and sadly their only son died in some horrible war somewhere. By the time Miss Good Looks passed away, the oak tree in the garden was magnificent and garden wall  had this beautiful aged look with moss and lichen.

We have this love-hate relationship with nature. We love to build houses and erect fences that are gorgeous and brand new. We like the manicured lawns and the weedless driveways. We’ll do anything to keep nature from wearing out our priced estates. On the other hand, we’ll pay big bucks to make our garden’s look natural and even more to own a small crumbling palazzo on Lago d’Orta (look that place up and go there next!) where time seems to have stopped and you can cut the inspiration with a knife.

Imagine you were mother nature herself and some dude has just bulldozered your favourite meadow. He’s poured concrete and tarmac all over the place. You’re not really worried. You’ll fix it with your best buddy: time. Patiently and painstakenly you’ll brush lichen over the walls and with the roots of vines you’ll gently widen tiny cracks in those big walls. Little daisies have been told to break open the tarmac, one tiny pothole at a time.

But you’re not a mean thing. You only want the planet to be a great place and as much as you want to reclaim men’s ego trips and render them to the world, you’ll do so very gently and with much consideration for your bizarrest children. You’ll paint their ugly houses and towns with the most beautiful patina that you have in your palette. The patina of age.

And so, the Zen master smiles. Yes, this is the sound of water,

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