David (my husband) and I first made a New Year visit to one of the ancient yew trees in our area on 1st January 2000, and have continued this ritual in subsequent years. This year, due to stormy wind and rain on the 1st, our visit had to be on 2nd January when the sun has been shining.
I’m sharing this picture of an ancient tree because it can be helpful and hopeful to take a long view. This yew grows in the churchyard of the Parish Church of Saint Andrew in Kenn. The church’s history goes back into the twelfth century, but the tree itself is older, it is over 2000 years old.
This year I am using my role as an Ambassador for the Permaculture Association to tell people about the connections I see between permaculture and the work on rural reconstruction a century ago by the great Indian poet and polymath, Rabindranath Tagore. His world change philosophy drew on the Upanisads, Indian writings dating from between 1000 and 300BC. Tagore’s interest in Indian history, human evolution and anthropology gave him a long perspective on human society, and he realised that in the modern world ‘the living bonds of society are breaking up, and giving place to merely mechanical organization’. Tagore had an enduring faith in humanity. He realised that the social breakdown has to be temporary (a couple of hundred years), and then we will find our way back to living cooperatively in local communities, taking advantage of some useful modern inventions, but not for ‘the greed of profit’.
Interesting things are happening at the Tagore Centre in London: http://www.tagorecentre.org.uk/2/post/2013/12/an-invitation-to-share-ideas.html
I am gradually adding texts by and about Tagore to a fixed page website: http://tagoreanworld.co.uk/