“Does the bell donging twelve o’clock bother the peregrines?” asked my granddaughter. Apparently not. Neither does a small plane flying overhead. Nor the wind eddying around the spire creating its own mini weather system. The peregrine falcons, nesting high up on the nooks and crannies of the cathedral, are unfazed. The adults get on with feeding their chicks. Their focus is survival.

A couple of miles away sky larks rise vertically from a wild flower meadow. Flowers with evocative names: milkwort, mallow, cranesbill, kidney vetch, birdsfoot trefoil, and – whisper it quietly – bee orchids. Butterflies flutter among the flowers; green and mauve grasses bend and dance in the breeze.

“God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures,” wrote Francis Bacon. He would have enjoyed the sight of great landscapes and of a peacock butterfly; the sound of thunder and of a blackbird singing its evening hymn; the smell of the sea and of a dew-drenched rose.

What would Bacon, who lived from 1561-1626, think of the turmoil of human life today? Similar to his day? Humans ponder and puzzle and stress and strain at the bewildering happenings in the world. Maybe they wish they could be as free as a bird or as a waving stem of grass. But the privilege of being human is balanced by responsibility – with actions requiring wisdom and humility. An ancient proverb gives guidance: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

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