As 2016 draws to a close I reflect on the past year and wonder what the future holds for us. What path are we on, have we chosen the right path, and if we go the wrong way will we be able to navigate through or turn back to a better course?
Sometimes it isn’t obvious which is the right path, but normally we do know when we have gone off course and are going the wrong way. I fear that at the moment the world is certainly following a path to a very uncertain future.
The Yorkshire Dales
Last month my father was the recipient of the highest decoration in France, the legion d’honneur. This medals were awarded at Yorkshire Air Museum as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War.
I had always known he landed on a Normandy beach in 1944 and had heard some of the ‘funny’ stories of the war, perhaps because the horror of war was not a story anyone would want to tell. Even when I had watched Saving Private Ryan many years ago and Dad had said that he had been on the next beach, I had hardly wondered at how he might have felt, perhaps because the imagery in this film was linked to an American flag and an American story.
Only when our family sat listening and watching as five, frail British nonagenarians were awarded their medals and I saw the emotion in my father’s face, did the enormity of what they had experienced sink in.
Peasholm Park, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Garden of Dreams
In April, on a sunny spring day, I was wandering around the garden of my family in North Yorkshire and enjoying the verdant foliage that you can only get in a place with high rainfall or constant watering. I thought of my own garden in Western Australia, the sand only centimeters below the built up topsoil and the silvery or pale green water-wise plants that survive on brief winter rains and twice weekly reticulation.
When I stopped at the pond, that appeared as a sea of green, a head popped out to look up at me.