It’s dark outside, 4pm in December. Something about winter makes me think about what really matters. To me, to us. Is it small things like what brand of coffee I like the best ? Or the big things such as what is the purpose of living ? Sometimes at the end of a day, I sit and do a kind of reckoning: what went well today, felt fun, was kind and affirmative ? Then those other things – the unresolved awkwardness between me and my friend, not getting a reply to my invitation, a new health concern, the dog has a malign growth on his side. How does the reckoning balance out today – it shows up what really matters.
Matters1 What about routines? The homely habits, have coffee for breakfast, do the crossword in bed at night. Why does it matter when I have coffee, or if I never ever do he crossword or clean the house ? Think it’s a deep down fear of unravelling without the shape of routines. Do I care my possessions, my clothes ? Oh no, they’re only objects…hold on, what about that time my suitcase took a different flight than I did – it went to Athens for a while, I went to Hong Kong. The airline rang daily with updates, trawling destinations for where my case might be. Oh dear, I felt despair, shed some tears – my precious things- brooch from my friend, best book, favourite trousers. Fragments of me disappeared into the unknown. The case came back, I went to Zhuhai, on the coast of the South China Sea. Paddled in the sea, picked up these shells, so exotic so other.
Matters1shells other. So what about the case. What matters a lot to me is being with friends, family, laughing together, sharing kindness, holding them in mind wherever I am. I sing in a community choir, where you all belong through the songs, through joining your voices – no need to explain anything, you just sing it. I think kindness matters the most.
Big things. I went to an exhibition of Ai Weiwei’s work, a Chinese political artist.PortraitAiWW I walked into a world he had created through his works, some of them monumental.AiWeiweistools the wood is homely, very old and worn. the constructed shape whirling beautiful, echoes of a past rural life.AiWeiweipillar
a wooden temple pillar, dwarfs me with its height and singleness, survivor from a temple torn down. AiWeiweiearthquake on the floor is a sombre ‘river’ of straightened iron rods, on the walls, several large plaques with names and birthdates of the 2000 teenage school children killed when an earthquake flattened their shoddily made schools. The artist retrieved the mangled rods from the wrecked buildings, straightened them to form a testament to the children’s lives. I felt a strong sense of sorrow and of anger. Another calmer work:
AiWW treesa wood, a structure made of old beams and tree trunks, a shelter. Beautiful. I believe witnessing a regime through these works clearly matters in a collective sense.
So what really matters to you ?

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