A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. Albert Camus
As I write this I'm returning from a trip to our hill top house in Bulgaria. In recent years we have been less as I dealt with various episodes of surgery and treatment. But this year it felt like the time to finally ( fingers crossed!) heal from all life has thrown at me. I always leave with a heavy heart but once I'm home for a while, I wonder about the madness that made us buy a home there.But as soon as I arrive back again I know why we fell in love with the wee house with the giant view. The mountains seep in to your soul, just inviting you to relax but this year I wanted to see if I could do some work from this inspiring spot. So my office for a few days was under the sun shade, at the table, with the mountains as my backdrop and the shepherds dogs snoring peacefully.
I was doing some reading and writing around working in organisations. This proved a fascinating topic as the rural community around me started its work, it's ancient autumnal rituals. While I sat with a laptop-connected to wifi- even managing a business Skype call, the contrast couldn't have been more stark. Our work environments now often have no boundaries, with 24/7 connection, no day is sacred time off, no seasonal rhythm. Just plugging in and plugging on, often now doing more work with less people; technology both our saviour and slave master.
During this visit 11 horses arrived one day, in the next door small holding. The elderly couple, whose home it was are now both gone, and what we realised was a group of loggers were staying there to collect the felled logs in the nearby woods. We watched the next day as the beautiful, well cared for horses ( that's not always the situation for the working horses here) were saddled with what seemed like self made saddles and harnesses and ridden out to gather the wood with the men. It felt like something from another time. As I reflected on the demands on our current and future workplaces, we were witnessing an almost ancient ritual, untouched by machinery. Dangerous but quite beautiful in its own way.
Today's health epidemics in the workplace are stress and depression. And the recession not the only cause I suspect. As we hear daily about the need for more humanity and compassion at work, there's a paradox when we seek the answers in technology. There is no doubt the lives of the horses and the men would be enhanced by the technology we take for granted in the UK. But what would the impact be? I'm not suggesting we can or should go backwards but perhaps we can learn from what we have lost from our separation from the land, from communities, from the rhythms of the seasons and see how we can reconnect in other ways ?
Reasons to be grateful. We live in a beautiful country too and having the dog is a great excuse to get out in it .As we left we saw the first dusting of snow on the Rila mountains. After a fine summer, winter beckons ..