We Are Puny

I’m writing this after a day’s ride was curtailed by some quite foul conditions: heavy rain with a strong wind for accompaniment. (A Full Hengistbury on the Hengistbury Scale*.)

Alternatively, I’m writing this after the day’s ride was curtailed by my pathetic capitulation to some heavy rain and strong wind. Yes, I could have carried on; it wasn’t impassable or dangerous. It was merely unpleasant in South Oxon – somewhere on the wrong side of bracing.

Either way, my tiny, unimportant plan for a decent length ride didn’t happen. Still, I suppose there’s something to be said for being reminded how puny we are.

‘Sandy’, the storm that’s been doing so much damage first in the Caribbean and now in the USA and Canada, demonstrates human puniness with all the impassive, remorseless aplomb ascribable to dear ‘Mother Nature’.

I say there’s something to be said for being reminded of our human frailty but quite what that ‘something’ is, on reflection, I’m not sure. If you feel the need to be put in your place, just look up at the stars. Our puniness in the face of extreme natural events on Earth is one thing; the insignificance of even that puniness in the light of our position in the Universe is quite another.

I suppose the real upshot of it all is that we are unable to fully, truly comprehend or assimilate how feeble or insignificant we are. Instead, hope and resilience and all the similar, generally lauded, qualities triumph, if ‘triumph’ is the right word for the defeat of rationality.

*The Hengistbury Scale.