Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Tree Message

The tree was part of a Christmas Market near the Vatican and I liked the simplicity. It looked like a frozen fountain of light. In this blog I've already said enough about trees and fountains and light. But here's all three at once. Rebirth, life and death - and of course, eternal youth. What better to celebrate at this time of year but light, especially around the time of the winter solstice? The days will get longer and we will move progressively towards Spring. "If winter comes can spring be far behind?" asked Shelley. Percy Bysshe was generally regarded as a great poet who wrote about nice things like leaves and skylarks. But he was a revolutionary and he held scant regard from those who profited from poverty and exploitation. The "pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed." These were not leaves but the downtrodden poor who created wealth but did not profit from their labour. He pointed to  rebirth and change that would come in the Spring and bring with it emancipation and justice. It seems to have taken longer than he hoped. But the matter is far from over. That is what the tree symbolises for me. Old and venerable, the tree is about all of us and the potential we have within to create equality. Will we shirk the task and disappear into the void of the brave new world to which Huxley sarcastically referred? To bring the undeveloped world up to our wasteful way of living we need three more planets like this one. There lies barbarism. So how shall we proceed?