Arc of our covenant


© Evening Standard

In the UK, crayoned pictures have been fixed to windows reminding passers-by of how the NHS contributes to the health of the nation. We clap in recognizing heroic efforts of those on the front-line at 8pm each Thursday.

Last week, in the fifteen or so minutes preceding this weekly applause, there floated over London a double rainbow. The second, outer arc appearing a good five minutes after the first.

That confluence of coincidence cheered the heart … well, it cheered my heart while getting increasingly soggier … in virtue of an implicitly genial kindness: a gorgeous kind of empathy by Nature.

If the NHS – by which I mean the people who bring it into being each day and each night – has saved your life, you’ll know that it doesn’t have time to dwell on your renewed wellness because it is already acting on the next patient.

The clapping is really the only time we can transform our passive role into one of positive action. It is a kind of covenant we have to acknowledge that which is given and gracefully received.

The clue being in the title, a rainbow occurs when light penetrates through rain and is reflected, refracted & dispersed, appearing as a spectrum in the form of a septa-coloured, circular arc. Nuff said.

Centenarian reigns supreme


The scintillating success of Captain Tom Moore’s fund-raising walk may well be far lovelier for him than the recipients of his strident imagination. His first ambition to raise £1,000 swiftly swelled to £500,000, a sum now exceeded by 5,920% according to his fund raising page at £29,600,902 as of 07.00 this morning.

Giving gives. As everyone knows, giving gives the giver a sense of well-being deep within: a peace on which floats kindness, softening the heart.

Studies link random acts of kindness to releasing dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that can give us a feeling of euphoria. This feel-good brain chemical is credited with causing what’s known as a helper’s high.

In addition to boosting oxytocin and dopamine, being kind can also increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. [quoted from Science of Kindness: link above]

NHS Charities Together, the beneficiary of Captain Moore’s charitable walk completing 100 turns of his garden before his Hundredth birthday, will doubtless yodel Many Happy Hoppies today while the rest of the population clap in recognition of all NHS healing hands at 8pm.

Now an honorary Colonel, Tom Moore has given the country far more than Thirty million quid. He’s drawn out of a worried population a little more wellness than we thought we had.

Moore power, less force


© The Times                                              Captain Tom Moore on manoeuvres

Have you ever pondered the how of people’s ability to cope with extraordinary events? I’m thinking of the advent of World War II when the times suggested themselves as slower, kinder, more trusting, more willing to do a good turn, when normality was giving the benefit of doubt to put others first.

The shock of those brutalizing six years when events spiralled ever downward with loose tongues costing lives: how did those who endured through&beyond emerge emotionally intact?

How greatly did they suffer in virtue of not speaking? Their rigour and adherence to commitments made locked them in to a kind of mind/heart/spirit cell from which honour ensured many never attempted escape.

While comparing this global pestilence with a world war wildly over-eggs the puddin’, it does seem the closest subsequent generations have come to grasping the enormity of what went before.

We are fortunate that evolving habits will not trap us into silence and there will be no shortage of empathic understanding when we need to share our experiences of this weird epoch.

Captain Tom Moore, whose suasive vivacity and spirit has raised millions for the NHS, knows at the cellular level that duty and courage enable courageous contribution to the wider world. Slowly, deliberately, his aim was true and met the target of 100 garden rondells before his Centenary. He’d considered raising £1,000. At the time of writing, his walking total is a furlong over £29 million.

An elevated mind which belongs to an ocean-swimming lawyer sent some uplifting words. Don’t know if intended as both inspiration and Haiku, but they are.

And there is a tomorrow. It does improve, if ever so slowly.

Stew, Stew, Barley, McGruel, Cupboard, Dribble, Grub


© Gordon Murray                                Trumpton’s heroic firemen dashing out

At the time of writing, of the 1.5 million felled by this global, indiscriminate pestilence, 88½ thousand have died. It is bewildering, tragic and will need more than fortitude to protect the vulnerable and conquer its cause.

While complying with instructions to make way for key workers and help the NHS by washing hands & staying home, the one walk a day has been a perfect moment for idle reflection and escape from the grimness of it all.

Do you think in music? words? pictures? numbers? colours? scents? something else entirely, perhaps? Whatever its medium, the mind can soar with spectacular freedom, particularly when there’s nothing else one is obliged to do.

For example, now that grocery shopping has become a rice-less requirement of careful planning, daily menus have evolved à la Trumpton. The entirely justified, well spaced queues at food stores focus concentration on exactly what’s needed as nipping out for a loaf or pint of milk is no longer a matter of … nipping.

Therefore, if prone to stepping across the threshold of shops and entirely forgetting what you came for, here’s a cheerful mnemonic for each day of any week: Stew, Stew, Barley, McGruel, Cupboard, Dribble, Grub.

Bon app’tit.