Most of us probably channel hop from time to time in order to find something worthwhile to watch on the tin. Recently I’ve found myself flicking through the various offerings in a desperate attempt to try and avoid coverage of the many calamaties currently afflicting our beleaguered planet.
I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the millions of people that have been embroiled in the recent spate of natural disasters. When I pause to reflect about the Japanese tsunami and the recent earthquakes around the Pacific Plate I’m left feeling very, very empty. I can’t even fathom the sense of loss and hurt… My hope is that when the suffering is finally eased, the hundreds of thousands of humans and animals that have had to endure so much somehow get the ‘lions share’ of sunshine and goodwill. News of the dovetailing uprisings from the Middle East has also been shocking but somehow because it has all been contrived by humanity it hasn’t had as profound an effect on me.
Given all of this turbulence, I’m increasingly nervous about what I might find if I tune to BBC, CNN or Sky. I’m done with bad news for now because like most people, I’m feeling catastrophied out. Does anybody else ever remember the 20th century when a global event only occasionally happened?
I’m starting to wonder if things have really got worse or if the media are just covering things differently? Certainly the coverage is ordinary – and I don’t mean that it doesn’t have enough graphically disturbing scenes, but it’s the same news that is rehashed every 15 minutes, with the same grim possibilities alluded to. They have a job to do but maybe they are trying too hard to shock us and succeeding.
Not surprisingly a lot of talk has turned to the grand plan behind all of this death and disaster: “Mother Nature is telling us something” they whisper knowingly. I’m not so sure. Recently we had Professor Douglas Gough of The Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, lecture to the Ranging Team on sunspots. The Professor is an expert in Helioseismology which is the science of using acoustic pressure waves in the sun to learn more about it.
Somebody described it ‘as trying to understand how a piano is built from the sounds that it makes when you drop it down a flight of stairs…’ It was fascinating to be sure and one of the things that I particularly took away from it was that there are some extravagant variables in our existence on this planet and that for the most part – the science on them isn’t in yet. My own belief is that Mother Nature is not punishing us. She’s just being herself and for good or bad you have just got to accept that living on this rock is a precarious business – Ask the dinosaurs!
Anyhow, our own circuit of current affairs is afflicting the Ranging team. The Tsalala Pride’s 4 cubs are frequently being discovered in Marthly (the other side of the Sand River from camp.) By Mike and Jess’s reckoning they’ve just nailed 7 weeks and are incredibly mesmerizing to spend time with, most notably the cub with the limp. Most mornings it’s a relief when they are found and the number 4 is reassuringly broadcast across the radio waves.
Certainly when it comes to extravagant variables, lion cubs are at the proverbial coal face, but it would be injurious to suggest that they are the most hard done by. Just about all living things that occupy our wildspaces, by observation suffer equally. The mantra that works is ‘no mercy – no malice’ and to those amongst us who suggest disaster strikes according to a pre-destined plan as punishment for global wrongdoing – well let’s just say that I hope you are wrong.
In case the doomsday prophets do have a point – I’d like to remind them of some classy words by John Donne:
“Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.”
As for the Tsalala Pride: It’s going to be a nerve jingling affair following their progress and that of the cub with the limp. If you aren’t careful you can catch yourself anticipating bad news, a little bit like tuning into CNN in this crazy world of ours. On the odd occasion however, you do get to watch something that seems to make everything else irrelevant and in turn you keep coming back for more. Enjoy…