LATE AFTERNOON reveals a purple haze here that I became sure was something more tangible than merely the dying of the light. So I set out to “get up close”, there to discover that what had looked like a beautifully painted swathe from afar was actually a sea of the tiniest, exquisitely formed flowers, valiantly sprouting from sand and rock. And, not for the first time during these blessed slowed-down days, I recognise gratefully that the larger realities of life are comprised of innumerable tiny beauties, some of them, perhaps very many of them, only seen in a certain kind, a certain quality, of light.

Even the appreciation of light itself requires a physical and mental slowing down. No canvas ever painted by human art can match the astonishing glories of sunrise or sunset, or white wispy cloud set in sky of azure blue, or today’s purple haze upon a mountainside, never painted before nor ever to be repeated. And I’m moved and delighted when slowed down enough to notice. And shocked when I realise that my foot on a man-made “accelerator” will all too quickly speed them from my sight again.

Today I’ve spent more time contemplating the tender flowers of a purple haze than I have the ominous dark clouds hovering over birth-pangs in the febrile Middle East. But nonetheless aware of the sufferings to be undergone in the bringing to birth of any new age I recall having seen similar flowers, growing out of sand and rock, just outside Jerusalem, only months before the second Intifada – and thinking longingly then, as now, that if only humankind would slow down enough, often enough, to recognise that life was always intended to be comprised of the tiny, tender, intricate beauties to which every one of us contribute ourselves, we’d all of us be blessed by an art, from a distance, like this Canarian purple haze. And be blessed by the grace, close up, of a new heart.

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Fuerteventura, Spain