We are the weather (the creative title for a new book) succinctly evokes our interdependence with nature.
Equally evocatively, recently published research suggests that less than half the cells in our bodies are human: the majority of our body’s cells are everything from air in our lungs and fungi on our skin to bacteria in our gut and viruses in our blood. We are an ecosystem. The boundary between us and the rest of nature is nowhere near as sharp as we might have thought.
What these evoke is more immediate and fresh than the well valued reminder that we are all star dust, all made up only of elements first created in the stars.
But an observation which I tripped across this week renews that image for me as well. It is that the instinct of the alchemists was right. Gold can be made from base metal. In fact, all the gold we have was so made in the nuclear reactions at the centre of past stars. All the alchemists lacked was a realisation that their work on this planet could never be sufficient to begin to replicate the process.
I want God to make my baseness golden. It turns out that this is a real possibility - yet a possibility which earth-bound resources cannot alchemise. Which, of course, takes me back to the beginning of George Herbert’s Easter
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.
Meanwhile, the long needed re-wiring of St Michael's, Haworth began this week, and I am eager to see the impact of the new lighting scheme which will emerge in November