A Ghost in Cornwall
This land is my memories. For two thousand years this valley has been mine alone.
I know every rock, every stream and every tree. I know the forces that shape this land and the people who inhabit it.
A billion years ago this land was a migratory trail for the animals of Western Europe. They roamed freely across the huge land of one continent. Millennia passed as the rivers washed silt to the ocean and the sun raised rain to the sky. At that time the mass of Eurasia was joined. The tectonic plates shifted and islands formed, raising proud, green peninsulas on green water, thrust out to the ocean. Long before my time the forces of nature battled along the coasts of Western Europe. From the Southwest, the Gulf Stream warmed and opened the land with summer heat. From the north, ice raged and cracked the rock of what would become the British Isles.
The land tells me it was an epic struggle. The generous heat of earth, venting her spleen, the wash of the water, cooling and circulating air. Rain succoured the land and ran back to the sea, endless cycles, repeating endlessly. The earth shifted, chasms opened and the sea swept in, submerging areas and separating the islands of Britain and Ireland from the mainland.
Spouts of boiling lava spewed from the molten centre of earth to create granite formations, a source of wonder till the end of time. A great rift opened up what is now the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea, separating the land into distinct areas. Many characteristics still connect Brittany, Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall. Their joining can still be seen in place and people. But veins of power run through the sea, a matrix of energy criss-crosses the land and reaches out around our planet.
The Phoenicians, Egyptians and Greeks journeyed to these coasts even before the Iron Age, in search of Keltic wisdom, since long before the time of my youth. They followed the trail of gold and wisdom across the sea to Cornwall and then to Wales and Ireland. Later, tin trade followed these routes across Brittany and the journeys of wise men and saints to the west of land, the land of setting sun, of Gods and the quest for immortality that haunts us all. Ships and boats from the French and Spanish coasts often sailed to rivers on the south coast of Cornwall in search of trade and journey with the friendly and civilised Keltii, hopefully avoiding the pirates that have ravaged these coasts for millennia.
2000 years ago I was killed trying to save my mother from Portuguese raiders on the river, who stole the gold that came from Ireland. My story is located in the valley of one of these rivers, now called 'River Fowey'. It is a story that I have not been able to tell until now. My own story starts with the visit of Jesus of Nazareth to the river Fowey in 30 AD (according to the Julian Calendar and allowing for a seven year miscalculation). He was twenty three years old. He journeyed on a vision quest to the west-of-land, in search of the wisdom of the Keltii and union with his father spirit. I have spent much time thinking about this moment and my brief encounter with a man who claimed to be Son of God. For hundreds of years I puzzled at his smile, the light in his gaze. He had a quality of being rare in the extreme, an utter and unconditional compassion for all life.
Who am I? A ghost; Fintan, born 2000 years ago and caught in the matrix of nature unable to tell my story until now. I am here, waiting for you.
A Cornish ghost story, 'The Lily' available only at www.simonthescribe.co.uk/Lily.html">http://www.simonthescribe.co.uk/Lily.html
It's the classiest, most passive-aggressive move Barack Obama could make: He posted a list of books he's been reading on Facebook.
"This summer I've been absorbed by new novels," the former president wrote Sunday, "revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth."
Vanity Fair reports that a $10 billion deal to move all of the Defense Department's data, both classified and unclassified, to the cloud appears to be rigged in Amazon's favor.
The Defense Department's request for proposals was written with a "host of technical stipulations that only Amazon can meet," and put together only after Secretary James Mattis hired Sally Donnelly, a lobbyist who had previously consulted for Amazon. Even the language in the RFP mirrors Amazon's descriptions of its own technology.
Novelist V.S. Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize in literature, has died at his home in London aged 85. He was born in rural Trinidad in 1932 and wrote more than 30 books including A Bend in the River and his masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas.
Bookmarks Bookshop, a socialist bookstore in Bloomsbury, in London, has received outpourings of support after 12 far-right protesters stormed in and vandalized the store on Saturday evening, the Guardian reported.
As two staff members were closing the store on August 4, a dozen men, one of them wearing a Donald Trump mask, entered the store and began "knocking over displays and ripping up magazines while chanting far-right slogans." It is believed that the men took part in demonstrations earlier that day protesting the "censorship" of Alex Jones's website InfoWars.
Although Amazon's sales in the U.K. continue to grow--rising 20%, to $11.4 billion, in 2017--for the second straight year the company was able to halve the amount of corporate tax it paid.
The Washington Post asks why China is so afraid of author and book publisher Gui Minhai (also known as Michael Gui):
Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen, was riding a train from Shanghai to Beijing in the company of two Swedish diplomats in January when 10 Chinese plainclothesmen stormed aboard, lifted him up and carried him off the train and out of sight.
Three weeks later, Gui was paraded before Chinese media to recite a bizarre and apparently coerced confession. He hasn't been heard from since.
This is what passes for the rule of law in China today.
I think of Gui sometimes when I hear Chinese President Xi Jinping boasting about a country that "has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong."
Would a truly strong and self-confident nation behave this way? Why would it feel the need to kidnap -- for the second time, no less -- a peaceable 54-year-old gentleman such as Gui and keep him, in poor health, locked up for, now, more than a thousand days?
New research suggests that Dr. Seuss's Lorax is based on a particular monkey that the writer encountered in Kenya...
Recently, a group of researchers posited that the Lorax is not entirely invented, like Sam I Am or Things 1 and 2. Instead, it's inspired by a particular real-life species, a fuzzy-faced primate called the patas monkey that Geisel got to know in Kenya. Their conclusion, a paper called "Dr. Seuss and the Real Lorax," was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution earlier this week.
Do you have a habit of picking up books that you never quite get around to reading?
If this sounds like you, you might be unwittingly engaging in tsundoku - a Japanese term used to describe a person who owns a lot of unread literature.
One of the many great things about languages worldwide is the sizeable number of words for which there is no real English translation. Often they tell us about concepts and ideas that we are missing out on in the anglophone world.
As the northern hemisphere heads abroad in the coming holiday season, here are a few to be looking out for:
You may have witnessed the ritual, knowingly or not, while on the hunt for a coffee or a cold beer towards the end of another long Spanish afternoon...
"Lost" material from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, reportedly seen as too controversial to publish in the 1960s, has emerged this week at an auction in New York.
Along with the original typed manuscript, which reveals the back and forth between the black activist and his collaborator Alex Haley, to whom he told his story, the unpublished writing was put up for sale on Thursday by New York auctioneer Guernsey's. The papers, including an unpublished chapter and a series of unpublished pages, were acquired by the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.