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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Cowell


Spell of the Air

I am the impulse of all whispers,

I Am the place for a rush of birds,

I am the whole intention of the sky

And the place for coining words.

I am your life breathing in and out,

I set your senses free,

I sort the truth from complicated doubt,

I am necessity.

Elizabeth Jennings

Thoughts about the morning air

I went for a walk along the canal this morning. Something I often do first thing.

There is something about the air of the early morning.

It has a freshness to it. A newness. As you breathe it in, you breathe in the sense of the new day. New beginning. Chance to start afresh, emotionally. Should you choose.

The intimacy of air

It surprises me a bit that air doesn’t turn up more often in worship songs and hymns. It does, sometimes, but its popularity is far outstripped by that of water.

I think this reluctance might be about intimacy.

We need water. It’s vital to life. We are largely made of it. We drink it. We can’t manage more than a handful of days without it. There is a rhythm about our need for water that is not unlike our need for prayer. A healthy prayer life would follow a similar pattern perhaps to our relationship to water. A shower once a day and the odd quick glass of water as you go about your business. And we all know that if we neglect to wash we’ll get a bit smelly, but we’ll hardly die.

But. Air. Now that’s a whole different business. Our relationship with air is one of intimacy. Moment by moment. Our Yahweh breath keeps us alive. We don’t just need the oxygen in it to fuel our cells, it’s full of things that sustain life. Its very presence creates the pressure to keep things stable.

Now there’s a whole different level of metaphor. Not sure we’re ready for it…..

Air and space:

Some really interesting stuff:


Stephen shared this:

A bit of reading from Nick Page’s 2001 book “ Blue”:


'What's the matter?'

The balloon was not lifting. Atter the dificulya deciding whether or not to go, he was a bit annong. to find that the balloon would not lift off There ware strong whiff of anticlimax about the whole affair.

" knew this was stupid!' he muttered to himself

Whoever heard of a girl piloting a balloon?'

The girl tugged on the rope to open the valves, bu nothing happened.

We're too heavy,' she said at last. She looked al him accusingly. 'What on earth have you got in that bags He looked down at the small holdall that had been

waiting, already packed, for weeks.

'Not much,' he replied. 'My wallet and diary, obviously. A mobile phone. Some pens and paper and a camera. Medical kit, some biscuits, a knife and a bottle of water. A palmtop computer to get my e-mail, and a book and a Walkman and a spare set of clothes.

She began to giggle.

Well, I'm just trying to be prepared for all eventual-ities,' he said, feeling hurt.

'You won't need all that, silly.'

"But I have to take it. It goes everywhere with me.

'The first rule of flying,' she explained, 'is to try to leave the ground behind. We're never going to get going with all that weight.'

'I's hardly a big bag...'

"I's not the objects themselves,' she said, 'but the weight you give to them. Didn't you know that?

Possessions are heavier the more important they are.

I've known people drowned by the weight of one penny. They couldn't leave it behind; you see.'

'But what if something happens?'

She threw her arms in the air. 'Of course something will happen!' she said. 'That's the point! But it won't happen if you insist on carrying the cares of the world with you.

We can go everywhere, if only you will leave everything.

Oh, all right. But if it's not here when I come back, I shall be really annoyed.'

Reluctantly, he lifted the bag and dropped it over the side of the basket. Almost immediately the balloon began to rise. There was no obvious sensation of movement, rather it seemed as though the earth itself was slipping away, as though the balloon and the basket were the fixed points, and the world was falling away from them.

Within a few seconds the balloon was high above the garden and rising into the sky. Amazingly, all was still. It was as if they were not moving at all. There was no sound, no wind, no sense of motion.

'It's so quiet,' said the man. 'Why can't I feel the wind?'

'Because we're moving with the wind, instead of fighting it.'

He looked over the side to see his beloved bag on the ground below. For a moment the balloon stopped its ascent.

'Stop it!' said the girl. 'Your thoughts are too heavy!' He looked at her in astonishment. 'Don't be stupid,

he said. 'Thoughts can't be heavy!'

Yes they can. Just try to forget about all that stuff.

'It all seems so small from up here,' he said. 'But when I'm down there, everything is so important.'

'That's why you must rise into the blue,' explained the girl. 'Only when you can look down on your life will you see the shape you've made of it. It's all a matter of progression, really. If you want to move on, then first you have to stop.’

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