I have spent much of my adult life – which is about four years – walking to the tops of hills and looking down off them. Notwithstanding that it can be f**king cold when the wind is up, there is something about taking the high vantage point a hilltop provides that teaches you something about life.
In the television series Man vs. Wild, what does Bear Grylls do in all episodes without exception? Having seen approximately three, I can assert that he always looks for high ground. Rather than slice endlessly through Cambodian rainforest with a blunt bushwhacker’s knife, Grylls astutely finds his way to a point of altitude from which he can look across his surroundings – all the way out to the horizon if he is lucky – and by doing so properly take stock of them. Rising above the weeds, he can allow the tapestry of the whole world to unfurl before him, to see at last the grand image formed achingly from each stitch.
If you think this text has devolved into celebrity worship, you are wrong. It is an extended metaphor. See, the objective of this ‘blog’ is to take you up to the hilltop with me so that, together, we can decipher the landscape below. The ‘landscape’ in this image might be interpreted as ‘society’, or ‘institutions’, or even ‘the world.’ Ultimately it may transpire that I do all of the deciphering, and you simply stand next to me as a mute hologram who is powerless to interrupt my assessments. But at least we will have been in each other’s company.
So, come with me, ye faithful. Come to the hilltop, where the birds sing and the paragliders launch. Together, let us look across the river valley and see which way the water flows. It may not always be the way we thought.