Spring’s Paradox

My family have left for their busy day of school and work, while my task will be to prepare for tomorrow’s eight hour drive to Sydney.  Before I begin the formidable task of assembling, repairing and double checking every little bit of the Rolling Show, I am taking a customary few minutes behind one of our bay windows.  The sun crests the steep hillside opposite our home long after it has risen  on the working class, relying on retired gentlemen such as myself to enjoy is prime warmth. Its now substantial beams spill down the hillside, pouring into every tiny droplet of dew until the sparse eucalypts, the native grass tufts, the familiar mob of kangaroos, the varied bird life, ‘all of creation’ is silhouetted in a glistening, white and rainbow blanket of light.  It’s a mesmerising vista that voices the word Spring.  The sky is crystal clear; an early, tentative blue that seems to be pacing itself, gathering momentum for a deeper cobalt that might in a while be displayed as a taste of the summer to come.  For the first time in months I have opened the window wide to the fresh air which only last week was icy and definitely to be kept at bay. Snow capped peaks can still to be seen not far from here, and this morning’s breeze feels like a cocktail, ‘shaken – not stirred’, with cool and warm currents each intact.

Serendipitously, the first tenuous violin strains  from Vaughn William’s ‘Lark Ascending’ have just come from the radio behind me.  We have a rather superb sound system, a benefit of my mother’s estate, and I must hold my breath (although the breathing machine seems determined to disagree!) as William’s Lark begins its upwards flight,  augmented through the open window by the plentiful calls of local kookaburras, rosellas, currawongs, honeyeaters and – most beautifully – a shrike-thrush somewhere nearby. I have to write immediately, even though the writing could mar the moment’s transcendence.

I know, however, exactly where this musing in my journal will take me: directly towards one of the niggling, unsettling questions that occupy a sometimes noisy backroom in my mind. Why does beauty so persistently emerge in a troubled world? It seems  improper that beauty should thrive, almost ambivalently, in a world that also contains the turmoil, folly and pain of humanity.  As if to deny the world’s ugliness – even as we see it so graphically, so relentlessly on every evening’s News – beauty gently flows into life, filling a landscape, in a chord of music, bringing grace to a conversation, or imbuing the companionable silence that husband and wife can know and treasure.
I’m not quite hitting the nail on the head here yet … …
Why?”  I want to shout aloud, “Why does beauty surround me, as it seems to have done throughout my life, while elsewhere children play outside local pubs, their tiny black teeth rotten through at six years old by the cans of Coke they suck while their mums and dads booze away inside?”

Why do Palestinian families spend their days lying horizontally on couches strung around their lounge room walls, hoping to lessen the risk from stray AK-47 bullets that pop through their windows? Why are there refugee camps ‘temporarily’ housing hundreds of thousands of souls in cities of frayed and windswept canvas?

Why do I have so much when so many have so little? Why are we living in Paradise? Why do I have a beautiful wife and wonderful children, and grandchildren too? (…soon to number 4!).  Why do we live in a land of peace and plenty? Why are we surrounded by nature, wildlife, birds and bushland when so many of our brothers and sisters around the globe stare at crumbling, shell-pocked masonry? My Christian heritage assures me that this is the blessing of God, for which we give thanks. We do give thanks, my Favourite Wife and I; every day, without fail. But I suspect – more and more – that our thanksgiving avoids questions that we dare not ask.

Joy is perplexing. I scarcely ever find myself saying “Why me?” in the sense of why am I in this physical predicament, or why have I lost my opportunity to work and contribute to the world; why a wheelchair, why a breathing machine, etcetera, etcetera. But I regularly trip over this unexpected quandary: “Why is my own life so good, so rich, and so beautiful? What ever did I do to deserve all this?”

A paradox, at the same moment affronting and immensely reassuring: beauty will show itself in a world awry.


15 Responses to “Spring’s Paradox”

  1. 1 Anne Marie Jonas October 13, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Lovely to hear from you again, Rod. If you are on your way to Sydney, and you have time, let me know. xo

  2. 2 John Shearer October 14, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Gooday Rod – you do write so beautifully! Love & Healing Always! – John https://www.facebook.com/spiritual99

  3. 3 Milton October 14, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Rod you are a Blessing,Always have been an always will be.Love you heaps.Theresa. P.S…Who is having No..4.

  4. 4 Nadia Humphries October 14, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Hi Rod, I’m rendered speechless for the moment which rarely happens to me 🙂 however your thoughts here are very challenging and inspiring all at the same time, defs food for thought. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your life with us all, love this …

  5. 5 Barry Smerdon October 14, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Thank you, Roderick. You have made my day.

    Blessings Barry

  6. 6 stephen paterson October 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Hi Rod you have a wonderful way of putting life into perspective ,I just drove through Salt Ash where some homes were lost in fire and some not but yet I am able to come home to mine .
    That is a blessing because ,you managed to remind me how I take the small things in life for granted, it’s always good to read your blogs!
    May god continue to bless you in abundance!
    Yours In Christ


  7. 7 Lorraine Howell October 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

    So good to have you back. Thank you for your reminders of the blessings of our great God.

  8. 8 Trish October 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Beautifully written, I’m right there now enjoying Paradise. Wishing you all the best for your journey. Looking forward to our usual catch up in a weeks time.

  9. 9 jc1965 October 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Excellent Rod

  10. 10 Az October 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Beauty! yes its all around us i just looked in the mirror. you should add a mirror to your Rolling show.

  11. 11 Tim Belcourt October 15, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Hi Rod, I think about you a lot and the why question. I am glad you are able to type what you are able to and put life in perspective. Indeed we need to “Rejoice” for what we have. Cheers, Tim

  12. 12 roderickmallen December 23, 2013 at 10:54 am

    We will be up there mid January. it would be good to catch up!

  13. 13 roderickmallen December 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

    thanks John!
    a late response from me,
    Wishing you a Happy and Holy Christmas.

  14. 15 roderickmallen December 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Lorraine and Herbert,
    Best wishes to you both for a Happy and Holy Christmas. Occasional contact with you is a joy!

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