Author: G. Jefferies
And so ends week six of the Niki Lopez Kindness challenge. Another thoughtful exercise into people that have been inspirational influences on life. This has been a challenge in itself. So many and how to condense them into one post!
I’ve termed this inspirational kindness for no reason other than using people as role models or sources of inspiration is quite useful to direct ones sense of purpose. A mindful way to interpret ambition, standards or beliefs and provide something to strive for. Setting goals and objectives however large or small. A life ambition, set of standards to travel through life with or a strong anecdote that makes you nod and think ‘Yes, spot on there.’ But who or what to choose? This has been both difficult to narrow down and hard to turn into a post with meaning.
Back in the day when Christopher Yates battled against a monster carp in Redmire Pool, a small group of friends and I were inspired to chase our own leviathans in ponds and rivers dotting the landscape within the radius of a bike ride. It was more than the record carp though. Yates is and was a prolific writer and naturalist. His work, while centred on piscatorial adventure is steeped in, not how to angle, but how to view the natural world that surrounds the fisherman. His words drew, in me, a resonance with the surroundings. A world where time slows and pauses while early morning mist hovers above a still expanse of water before the sun burns it off and minutes begin ticking once more. The inspiration to view nature as something greater than us. To feel the billions of years where it grew ecosystems and species long before it thought of bipedal know it alls that have forgotten the past.
The journey along a waterside was filled with an appreciation of time itself and amazement of the smallest detail by which nature exists. It taught us watercraft and how to read what lies beneath an expanse of water. Where our adversaries, carp of course, might raid unseen avoiding the offerings of those not touched by the Passion for Angling; coincidentally the title of a well crafted television series portraying the world of the angler and the atmosphere of the angle.
In truth, Chris Yates inspired not only a keen interest in carping but also in writing about the esoterica of water and journeys into the wild places. The origin, if you like, of which my two memoirs. For these too are touched by the magic of nostalgic reminisces; places where ghosts and monsters haunt the past.
Angling has always been a mainstay since childhood; not so much now but the passion still lurks and if water is close to a walk then it must be stared at and read. However, time moves ever on and heading towards higher education found further inspirations in science. Einstein, for example, for the sheer genius of mind and thoughts.
As a pending research scientist there were others too. James Watson and Francis Crick for the elucidation of the structure of the DNA as a three dimensional double helix; my forte at the time being molecular biology. I could recite endless lists of inspirational scientists and philosophers from my time before children but I will limit it to one because it affects my world intensely.
Stephen Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA.
Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge in the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.
His scientific genius is widely distributed around the internet so it is not my intention to deliver sermons upon gravitational singularities and Hawking radiation or his theory of cosmology explained by the union of general relativity and quantum mechanics; not even his beliefs in many world theories and interpretations of the latter. Moreover it is the debilitating disease with which he has battled for decades; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neurone disease (MND).
In a nutshell, for those unfamiliar with MND, it is the deterioration of the motor nerves that control everything from movement to speech, the ability to chew and swallow. A disease that eventually leaves you in a shell, immobile and entirely dependant upon others to survive, if you so choose to call it an existence. Imagine a world in which you can hear everything, think and rationalise but not speak out or communicate; to be truly locked in and paralysed. A thinking vegetable with a life expectancy of around 18 months.
And yet, Hawking has struggled with this since his student days, defied his disability and become a scientific brain of extraordinary genius. It is not impossible theoretical physics gave him a reason to live and a drive that others might not be able to find? I imagine it to be a disease that slowly turns you mad until the end is greeted as a friend. Obviously these are my own thoughts and others may have differing view points, but if you are wondering why I chose the MND aspect of the great man himself then it is because my mother fell foul of this beast of a disease some years back. I’ve seen it play out first hand and would never wish this on the darkest of enemies.
However, Hawking represents not giving up…ever. You can’t get more disabled and yet he has never stopped battling, striving for more knowledge and sharing it with the works. I remember looking at my mum, then at the life of Hawking and not getting jealous or envious of his longevity, despite the odds against it. Far from it, I thought fair play you. If others could see you and what you have lived through, that I too have seen, then others should not perceive anything as impossible.
My message in inspiration here is simple. Next time you see a person with a disability, addiction, mental health problem or similar. Stop and think for a moment. Is your life really that bad compared to them? If it was you would you really want people to stare, avoid or joke about you? Can you open a door, say hello, smile or offer help? Things I’ve mentioned before about neighbours and the elderly are now expands to those less fortunate than you. All I can say is take what you have now for granted at your peril. Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself…or, put another way, you reap what you sow.
Moving to a less intense message, dear reader, you may now rest easy as things move to a new phase of my own inspirations. Having left science to raise children inspirations for life took a novel twist.
Enter Stephen King, J,R.T Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Yates returned, Brian Lumley, the bard Shakespeare and more. Without these then storytelling might have remained latent, asleep and with a permanent Do Not Disturb Sign latched on a dormant mind door (our man Hawking again; many world theory). These orators in words opened my eyes to the possibility of crafting something for myself. To move from the factual publications of science, in a previous existence, to pastures new; grazing on fiction, as it were…ever wondered where my blog name came from?
Where this journey has taken me is, perhaps, not for some. The start point was a piece written a few years back to explore a tragedy every parent fears most. The loss of a child.
This was pivotal, hard to write and maybe difficult to read. But it inspired more; Hawking many world theory and Roland Deschain of King’s Dark Tower. Many paths to many places and in fiction you journey them all. All I ask to those who read this is simple…is the child really dead in all worlds?
Thus spawned the opus magna that lies unedited; resting quietly. Not lost but waiting for the right moment. All tales leading from one idea and each thereafter developing more and more.
See, inspiration at work. A sequence of inspirational people in different places in time all directing traffic and, occasionally courting disaster if Olly The Lolly fails to turn up (reader check…know who that is?)
My other inspirations are littered in the previous challenge offerings. Quotes are inspirational. It matters not who spoke them, the messages therein are what counts. That and history; some were taken from 500 BC and the message is clear, unheeded by most, be kind, be mindful and treat others as you would do yourself. It’s not hard, so why make life difficult?
This post has been long in the contriving and both difficult to distil and rushed in part due to reality interfering….no, not interfering but my normal time for pondering was taken by a kindness for which no apology is made; visiting a friend in hospital. More important than any post I might attempt to ramble. If this is rushed or incoherent or otherwise littered with strangeness then that I will apologise for.
A pleasant week my blogging friends and remember kindness costs nothing and mindfulness will stave off catastrophising. Life is short.
‘Live long and prosper’ – Spock
© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.