Spotlight / #writing

Paying Attention to the Constant in a Transient World

Johanna Derry's This Common Year blog continues into 2018.

Wed 03 Jan, 2018

This time last year Johanna Derry started a blog inspired by Tooting Commons.

Johanna is a freelance journalist, whose writing features in publications as diverse as The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Church Times. Her blog, This Common Year is a ‘record of twelve months dedicated to paying attention to the life and seasons on the commons of southwest London, and finding the common threads that bind us all to the land, to one another, and maybe to Something Wholly Other.’

Whether you’re a city dweller, feeling constrained by your concrete confines, or simply want to start this year by retraining your focus on God’s activity in the midst of so much human interference, Johanna’s blog, may be just what you need. There is a year’s worth of posts to savour but, even better, she’s continuing the blog into 2018.

I’ll leave you a taster. An extract from the opening post, 1st January, 2017:

It’s easy to be distracted. The morning commute, the to-do list for the day, the bills to be paid, what to eat and what to wear, the horrors on the news, let alone thoughts of whether we’re in the right job, right profession, right city, right relationship.

And yet, every day the sun will rise and set, the birds will wake and sing, and the wheel of the year will continue to turn, trees greening, flowering, fruiting, falling as the seasons change.

A few years ago, mostly because I’d become bored of blackberrying in August, I developed a curiosity about what other fruit might be growing around me at that time of year. I realised how lucky I am, in the heart of London, to live next to Tooting Commons, to wake up and see it through my windows every morning. I hadn’t realised before that there are parakeets on the common, or that parts of it are protected acid grassland, or that the playing fields had once been watercress fields, or that there were plum trees alongside the railway line.

I am inconsistent, but the cycle of the seasons is not.

Though the world, the city, my life, can be fast and transient, I have chosen to pay attention to what is more constant to find what I am missing on my doorstep.

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