I’m sitting in the cockpit of the village where I’ve spent most of my life living.
And I have said many things about the city – and borough – it is part of.
But if I say those harsh things about where I lived passively most of my life, the same words can be applied also to my own being.
And it is the responsibility and joy of us all to respond to such challenges with hope and optimism: never to close our minds to the colours of complex greys.
The world in all its ambiguity is there to be shaped, tussled with, loved, thrived in … and ultimately won over in its many-splendoured rivers, brooks, streams, islands and rocks.
Each to their own, of course, in community and society and full identity; but each in the context of a true appreciation of the sanctity of the sovereign: the sovereign of individual, of cultural DNA, and of a love of life that I have been able to prove is within the reach of us all, whatever our life stories, whatever our inner struggles.
For I now understand one thing above everything else: every one of us has known suffering, and yet every one of us can overcome this suffering, where the individual and social will does exist to enable this.
Nothing is beyond us.
Nothing, I promise you.
And if this summer has taught me one thing, it is that being true to and loving of oneself – honest about all foibles, differences and ways of being – is a precondition for our whirled to work: if we cannot value what we truly are, and hide instead behind walls of institutional opinion, if we reject the option and opportunity of thinking for ourselves, if we refuse the wisdom of community, elders, the young and very young, if we choose to leave behind the middle-aged by default, and if the joy of happiness, of sexual fulfilment, of emotional entanglement, of confusion and clarity and excitement and ambition is not to become the birthright of all those who wish to belong to our shared humanity, then society will never socialise and humanity shall only continue its oft brutal march.
Peace, at last – yes! But not a passive peace: a vibrant, edgy, creative, dissonant, fresh, living, emotional, intellectual, thoughtful, inclusive, respectful, belly-laughing connection with everything and everyone we meet, fight for, hug, embrace, and one day even have the good fortune to kiss.
So this has been a good summer.
Now we have work to do.