The world is very simple and very complicated. Every breath we take is a marvel and the memory of some music that we still hear.
This morning is snowing. White flakes are mixing with the falling petals of the plum tree. The cat is outraged and runs in and out of the kitchen, snow flakes melting on his dark warm fur, mewling for explanation.
I am reading about my home city of Liverpool and its role in the slave trade, that leaves its echos in the street names and in its faded riches. One of the sea men who worked on the terrible ships trading human beings for money was John Newton, who was infamous for his profanity and disrespect, which was so intolerable that he himself was left by his captain in West Africa and was enslaved before being rescued by his family. This man finally understood the horror in which he had been complict and became a clergyman in England. He wrote the hymn Amazing Grace, which has been sung in churches, fields and homes ever since, encompassing in such moving words and music how human life can move from darkness into light.
I was sent on my trail back to Liverpool by a wonderful book that I have just finished called John and Elvis by Mathew Langford.
The John is John Lennon and the Elvis needs no explanation. It was so readable that I devoured it in a couple of days. The plot is an imagative interweaving of their respective biographies, that echos with their music and the places that they inhabited and the need for us all to make some sense of this extraordinary, contradictory, amazing world. I recommend it, as the snow falls on the cherry trees and my snow flake cat looks out on the garden with existential confusion .