Today I considered this blog and knowing full well that few, very few
people would read it and still fewer understand, asked myself why I
bother to write at all.

Sure it doesn’t take too much time, but I am beyond the age when I
need to shout the truth out loud and not yet at that place where I
need to talk to myself.

The answer came quickly. For my grandmother on my mother’s side and
for my father. They are both interred and long forgotten, perhaps by
all except me, but to my mind they were noble and honest and that,
believe me, is not a pair of ingredients often found.

My grandmother was a suffragette called Lillian May Quick. She was
anti- establishment and clearly pro-women’s rights, but more than
that, she loved nature in the correct way, not looking at bluebells in
Bluebell Woods, which was close by in Elburton in Devon, with an eye
turned outwards towards beauty, but inward as essence. She was as one
with the flowers and all animals.

She loved music and walking in the countryside because she saw them as
one thing. We picked blackberries in the hedges nearby and made
blackberry pies. What I am saying really is that she was a human
creature, not a slave of society.  She was a socialist, almost an
anarchist really.

My grandfather, in second place, but not in my eyes, was a carpenter.
From him I learned much about the world; he introduced me to the world
of postage stamps and sparked my imagination. He worked for the tar
works in Plymouth, England, so that at every lunch time I walked over
to his shop with Cornish pasties for lunch.

Because of my grandmother, perhaps I turned first to art and then to
biology and psychology, so I reflect now on what she was and the world
she saw.

I write too for my father, who was a Devon fisherman. His family had
been for generations. There is no man that I respect more. He
self-learned navigation and astronomy, never having been to school. He
was one of a very large family, the Eastons of  the Barbican,
Plymouth, and eventually owned his first little boat, “My Delight”.

There it is, you see, “My Delight”. The name says a lot, for he
delighted in life in his tough world. Intelligent he was, but
uneducated. He was at that time perhaps one of the most respected
fisherman in Plymouth (Cap Easton), though not always liked.

He was a fighter and had a vision of justice that was not common,
although his malapropisms drove me wild. But he allowed me full
freedom of expression, constant approval, no criticism and an
education beyond mere words. So I am here because of him and reflect
his ideas about human creature and the terrible abuse of all things

He loved fishing and he fished with his boats (eventually Seaplane,
Isabelle and St Pierre), not for wealth, but because he loved the sea,
as I do. When in a moment I and my companion took off in the Atlantic
in a small four metre cutter, I felt connected to him, and in moments
when circled by sharks, there was no fear, just well being, and when
small birds found their way aboard, the mystery of survival became a

Many years have passed and I have lived a full life with few downs and
many ups.   I am clear, though using the first person singular, that I
do not exist as an individual. This I did not learn through
intelligence as a biologist and psychologist,  but through childhood
and the genes of my grandmother and my father, both with the same

Once many years ago, when working women were few, my grandmother went
for a job (which she got) and on being asked her name said, “Lillian
Quick” and before there was time for a second question added, “Quick
by name and Quick by nature”.

And so what I write is for them, though they will never see what is
written as my gift to them. To my mother I have another debt, for she
taught me simplicity and kindness, a difficult lesson that ripened
much later in life with respect to the Dharma.

So really what is the point of relating these trivial details? It is
to point out that those with little education and a difficult life can
rise upwards and, through understanding nature deeper than mere
intellect, be as one with all living creatures and tread the steps of
the gate that leads to true humanness.

This points then to the essential lesson that those with weighty intelligence clinging to the world for what they can squeeze out can only reach the state of being human by returning to the un-carved wood and by being as one with nature.


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