A Beautiful World

Autumn, or fall as they say in the USA, is one of my favourite times of year. The colours, those subtle changes from summer’s heat into the first taste of winter conspire to make it an interesting season. However, the horrors of the world, our jobs or just plain old normal life make it far too easy to be distracted from noticing the colours, tastes and smells of our world. Years ago a dear friend who had just heard her doctor confirm that her old body was going into a heart failure that would soon kill her told me she had few regrets about dying but revealed one to me.

Autumn leaves boy
Photo by Philippe Put

She was sad that she would never see the first green shoots after winter or a dew laden rosebud captured in spring sunlight. She also said she would never experience the colours of autumn at its height – so her big regret was that she wished she had known it was to be her last spring and autumn so that she could have taken more time to drink in those experiences instead of allowing them to simply be the backdrop to her slow decline. Feeling her sadness I was quick to point out that we were in early autumn and persuaded her to allow me to arrange for the bed to be placed by her window that looked out onto the pretty garden of the nursing home, where the leaves of trees and bushes were starting to take on the subtle reds, yellows and purples of the season.

Eventually, quite breathless from the exertion of being propped up on pillows to take in the view, she thanked me for arranging it but was equally quick to point out that the real glory of autumn was still weeks away, weeks we both knew she did not have.

Vibrant Autumn Leaves
Photo by Dan G

Life often sidetracks us and sometimes fixates us with issues and problems or temporary distractions that all too often consume the best days of our lives much faster than we realise. If we are lucky, we will have a long and reasonably happy life unlike the millions killed or displaced by war, famine or deadly diseases. If you are reading this in your own home on your own laptop or device and you are not hungry, or anxiously in a place of danger you are in the lucky minority. If you have never felt you are sometimes a pawn of some power crazed dictator, whose psychopathic tendencies could see him snuff out your life and the lives of your friends of family without a second thought, rather than lose his corrupted power or allow any slight to his fragile ego, then again feel grateful. Most of all try hard to remember this when someone turns to you and your fellow citizens for help or safe asylum after they have escaped from war or tyranny.

Autumn Leaves at Coe Lake
Photo by Erik Drost

Of course for every charitable person there are three or four times more people who have allowed themselves to be fed by the hate and downright lies of politicians or state controlled media machines, who find it easier to turn their backs on such desperate people. Yes we all feel some of the fallout from that filthy war in Syria but never forget the almost forgotten conflicts within Africa, which produce four times more refugees than those from Syria and beyond. The biggest refugee camp in the world is not in Turkey but in Kenya, with millions of people scratching out an existence in hundreds of other camps throughout much of central and sub-Saharan Africa. In far, far too many African countries, it is the poor that suffer while the ruling elite and dictators get richer by trading off their countries national resources cheaply to China or multinationals. Most of these cesspits of corruption have been endlessly perpetuated through rigged elections since the day the colonial powers abandoned them to their fate. Far too often crooked leaders have claimed legitimacy for their veneer-democracies by pointing out that they are little different to their neighbours: Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Angola, Congo, Togo, Uganda, Nigeria, Gambia are amongst the most corrupt but name any single country in Africa that is a fully functioning democracy with little corruption and I might just tell you where to find unicorns.

19th African Union Summit
Photo credited to The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

Of course there is little point in turning to the most powerful democracy in the world for help or leadership at the moment because of the pre-election paralysis that always grips the USA for at least 18 months of every 4 year term. Far too many of its citizens, many who would struggle to find Africa on a world map, let alone locate a sovereign country within it, seem too interested in watching the reality TV show that is the Clinton vs Trump campaigns for President than give a second thought about refugees. That is of course, unless the conversation is about keeping the tiny amount that may actually end up trying to seek asylum in America on the other side of Trump’s ridiculous wall.

Clinton & Trump comical
Photo care of tonypro-fineart.com

Far too often the world seems preoccupied by similar contrived media circuses or the new breasts or new nail polish colour of some Kardashian or other, to worry too much about senseless wars and out of control dictators. For that very same reasons it is also unlikely that more than a few would ever find the time to look up from their phones or devices for long enough to enjoying a seasons colours or to stop for a moment just to smell the flowers.

Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum
Photo credited to David Ohmer

In a strange way my friend got part of her last wish, when her funeral took place on the most colourful autumn/fall day I could remember. If her spirit wasn’t present then she was certainly carried there in the hearts of her friends. So don’t leave it too late to start enjoying the world you live in, for better or worse, because for all you know you might actually have much less time on this beautiful, messed up planet than you care to think about.


8 thoughts on “A Beautiful World

  1. Autumn is my favourite month by miles. Though it bothers me that there is so much suffering in the world beyond the flame red maple and beach trees at the bottom of my garden. Perhaps all we can hope for is the end of IS and an end to the Syrian/Russian war on innocent civilians and that everything will settle down after Hillary gets the job. Then again peace in our lifetime again may also be as elusive as your unicorns

    Adam P

  2. Love the way you lull us into your story with pretty words and pictures.

    I once met an American in Botswana who told me his next stop was North Africa. I asked him where he would fly to and he told me ‘probably the capital Tunisia’


  3. You were a nice surprise in my inbox this morning.

    Pictures very good. War, dictators and discrimination very bad. I understand it but will it ever change Anthony???

    Marie {:)B< x

  4. Hello Anthony Bradley sir

    Your rouges gallery pic captured many of the freebooters in one place. Now some think leaving the International Court of Justice will allow them a free hand to freeboot some more. But I’ll tell you a truth about freebooters and thieves. One day they will be held accountable for their graft either by their own people or the good lord in the next life.


  5. I am almost certain that Donald Trump would struggle to locate Africa or any country within the continent unless of course they would take his bribe so he could build a casino or golf course there *(:->>

  6. Trusting any politician is always a risk. It isn’t just Africa for thieves and tyrants. Here in Brazil everyone from the president down is stinking in corruption.

    Sao Paulo Champions.

  7. Fall is my favourite season to I love the whole show. It was a nice to here your story Anthony. I could tell you really cared for this lady.


  8. Touched by your story – thank you for reminding us who/what is worth to spend time with. l took couple of hours from my daily chores this weekend to go out and enjoy the autumn colours and appreciated being alive being with my children and being free.

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