For all regimes, growth expectations assume moderately competent population, otherwise go straight to 4.
Then there is fear for your children, which, loosed from the confines of one body to worry about, magnifies and outstretches both time and specifics. I suspect that many parents are towed by an invisible thread of fear for their children pretty much their whole lives.
Beyond the usual worries about illnesses and accidents, I came to notice my own parental fear when I began to hallucinate snakes. Living as we were then in a small village in the Highlands of Scotland, it was my daily habit to take my first young son for a walk along a thin, muddy path that overlooked a rocky beach and the sheltered waters of the firth.
This pathway shared something of the kind of chaos that child-play leaves behind, each tide bringing fresh clutter, an empty whelk, a stinking knot of seaweed, the picked limb of a crab.
The air along the path had a peppery exuberance, consisting of the many different and connected beings that made their lives on the shoreline and in the nearby fields and woods.
There was the tension of the sea, the colorless wind, the continual revisions of light, stretched beyond the sheltering cliffs and out into an unchecked distance.
Having, in my twenties, finally made the effort to learn more about the wildlife around me, I was familiar with the forms I might encounter. On the waters there were male eiders wheedling around females, crooning to one another. Curlews roosted in the fields.
Gray heron hunted here, disturbed into their strange, high flight like a piece of muslin wafting above an air vent. With a bit of luck, there would be bottlenose dolphins.
Occasionally, roe deer emerged from the woods with a look of astonishment as if they had suddenly climbed out of a lm into three dimensions. My husband and I were obsessed with seeing the elusive pine martins and had smeared some of the trees with peanut butter in the hope of luring them.
Great spotted woodpeckers, gold finches, linnets, swifts and swallows, and all manner of insects were common sights. Highland cattle, of course. And the endless forms of dogs with the endless forms of their owners.
All these and many more, we expected. But one day, when my son was a toddler and we were away from the road, I let go of his hand and allowed him to find his own pace. It was then that I saw my first snake.
It lay on the path, inert, browned as a fiddle. I could make out the blunt, thumblike head, the dwindling silhouette of its tail. There is only one venomous snake in Britain, the remarkably hardy adder. It was highly unlikely that an adder would be basking on this particular exposed, muddy path beside a square of grazing land in the north of Scotland.
The adder is a fan of moorlands, of clear-fell, of dunes. Yet I continued to see snakes, and not always while I was with my son. The visions followed the same pattern. My mind contented and idling, my body bristling with the pleasure of activity, I would pursue a sightline until a small, sudden outburst of misinterpretation sent my heart spinning out of order.SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS (Blu-ray) THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS (Shameless) (Blu-ray) THE CHURCH Limited Edition (Blu-ray).
The Dark Enlightenment – Part 1 The Dark Enlightenment – Part 2 The Dark Enlightenment – Part 3 The Dark Enlightenment – Part 4 The Dark Enlightenment – Part 4a The Dark Enlightenment – Part 4b The Dark Enlightenment – Part 4c The Dark Enlightenment – Part 4d The Dark Enlightenment – Part 4e The Dark Enlightenment – Part 4f(inal) Part 1: Neo-reactionaries head for the exit.
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