Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leaf Turnover

Some time has elapsed since I last posted on this blog. Various things got in the way. The schedule for Follow the Wabbit became more complex and time consuming and I couldn't split my attention. I also retired from the fray of psychotherapy - although I think it''s one of these jobs where you can't retire. The environment won't let you and refuses to allocate you another slot. Where I must fill out an occupation in an official form, I find it hard to say "retired". Usually I choose psychotherapist as my last profession - so here I am back with Psychotherapy in Dublin! It's kind of where I left off with winter reflections. The symbols chase me always - not only in nature but in the built environment. In movies, in advertising, in shops, they just keep coming,  The symbolism of leaves is so well known it's in danger of being cliched. These leaves symbolise death, the last part of their cycle before they disintegrate and become fertiliser. But there aren't that many leaf idioms. We shake like a leaf or we turn over a new leaf. Yet nothing can capture the leaves' decay like Shelly's pestilent multitudes. They are the masses, driven by the West Wind and ultimately dying to be reborn. In the poem he poses the question: Can the decaying masses transform themselves and so transform all of society? Jung might comment adversely on the collective and say that leaves, like most collectives, are swept aimlessly hither and thither by forces beyond their control. But Shelley emphasized vibrancy and life - and so will I.
[The poem Ode to the West Wind.  by Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of Paul Foot's favourites - and mine too.]