When The Tree Pear Tree Topples Over We Are Far From Normal

My wife lamented this evening that I haven’t been blogging. It is good to have a wife who isn’t bored by me.

I responded I had nothing to write about. After all, I spend my days hived away on top secret work I can’t publish in case one you fools rob it and get a PhD from it before me. That might seem outlandish to you but someone at a seminar organised by the university told me that I needed to protect my ideas. Ideas are intellectual property, dontchyaknow?

I will share someone else’s ideas here. This opening paragraph from Zadie Smith’s latest essay is the best paragraph I have ever read about climate change. It seems to me to describe where we need to start our talk about what is happening, in its sheer odd hellishness:

There is the scientific and ideological language for what is happening to the weather, but there are hardly any intimate words. Is that surprising? People in mourning tend to use euphemism; likewise the guilty and ashamed. The most melancholy of all the euphemisms: “The new normal.” “It’s the new normal,” I think, as a beloved pear tree, half-drowned, loses its grip on the earth and falls over. The train line to Cornwall washes away—the new normal. We can’t even say the word “abnormal” to each other out loud: it reminds us of what came before. Better to forget what once was normal, the way season followed season, with a temperate charm only the poets appreciated.

People in mourning, people who are guilty and ashamed. This ought to describe who we are. That it doesn’t yet, will only heighten our grief, our guilt and our shame when the realisation does hit.

The crappiest kind of blogging is the glorified tweet that directs your attention to a link. I know, I know. I’m sorry.

Your Correspondent, The crappiest kind of blogger

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