I stand in my usual spot, beneath where the blue tit sings. The almost white branches of the walnut tree are leafless and I can see the little bird. It is my upbeat dawn rhythm. I am on my way to our old pony, La Petita, now plumper by two centimetres on account of her deep winter coat. The whole - all that lives and turns, the year, the seasons, the extraordinary symbiosis of nature - puts me in my place.

Hope surges.

One moment there is that enriching sense of a beginning, the next it is snowing ash. All birdsong stops. Grey flakes fall in slow motion. I race as fast as I can to the highest point of the farm to scan for the cause, hoping not to see a plume rising from the tinder-dry forest that blankets the Serra de Llaberia. Instead I find that, higher up the valley, a farmer is clearing the leaves and deadwood of 2017.

Then comes an ugly sound. Yet another military aircraft, a dark, juggernaut helicopter, not a screaming jet this time, is crossing the Priorat north towards Reus, Tarragona and Barcelona.

The ash relents, the menace diminishes. I settled on the bench between the olive trees and take some deep breaths. At my age, after several close shaves, I have very few anxieties now. But with man, fire and wilderness it is a question of when not if, and there is such a wealth of timeless goodness and wisdom in these forested lands and tended terraces. I cannot bare to think of the violence and loss.

I make some wishes for the seasons ahead.

No wildfires this year, please. But rain, steady, prolonged, would be good.

What else?

I stare at the evergreen swathe of pines.

Peace, essentially. I want that. Don’t we all. It is everything. It is, for example, the pinnacle of the European Union’s achievement on an insanely flammable continent and that is why, for all the ills and grievances, nobody should spurn the community.

As for the combustible world, America and others too need to rapidly come to their senses.

Compassion. The increasing, cold absence of this towards our fellow beings and planet needs the shining light of an egalitarian example - for a leader or state to show the way, to counter the pervading weaknesses and ignorances of greed, intolerance, violence, waste and destruction with uncompromising morality, sustainability, multi-racialism, equality for women, fairness, and protections for the most vulnerable and for the natural world.

Time. We need to take it, value it, be afforded it, for our individual and collective wellbeing which, yes, implicitly and positively affects our capacity for peace and compassion. I prescribe it is best taken in endeavour, with positive curiosity and good humour, among family, within nature, while being ever mindful that we have still so much to learn and not so long to do it.

I want to see Catalonia’s star continue to rise in all these regards.

I want more pride in the state of this beautiful country, with a national Clean-Up Catalonia Day which would wipe away the stain of discarded plastic and debris and foster so much good within our communities.

I want to live in a courageous, socially responsible country that is prepared, for example, as Finland and Canada have been, to trial universal basic income.

I want – oh – no more space. One more…..

I want to never lose hope.

And if there is fire…… then, well, we will regenerate and go on.

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