• Helen Ratcliffe ACA

Helen Ratcliffe - Introduction

Updated: Jun 13

Working and living at ACA in a remote, rural village in the North Pennines for over 25 years has always invoked a sense of a dual existence in me. I can only love the serenity and beauty of this place because I know and love the chaotic, frenetic energy of others. Both fuel me.

While the ‘other’ places are still a part of me, present times have of course, limited my physical surroundings to this rural idyll. Nothing to complain about there, I have been completed surprised at my acceptance of this small world and take comfort in it – for the moment anyway!

Life seems to be a contrast of calm introspection alongside bewilderment for what is happening beyond my cocoon, from car parking wars in the village below to race riots in the USA. What’s new? The world is interminably in turmoil, lurching from one crisis to the next. But the threat and restrictions of Covid19 have pushed human tolerance and compassion to the brink on both the nano and global scale. There is so much to observe, contemplate and comment on about the changes we are experiencing.

My fascination is in the human need to protect, a wholesome trait surely except when it mutates into a kind of social protectionism, dividing communities and instilling suspicion towards those who are beyond our own bubble.

Though I fear humankind's ability to overcome the problems it has created, I look forward to hearing thoughts from so many contributors from so many walks of life across the globe, who have been given a shared, distilled capsule of time to consider our predicament and our future.

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A beautiful poem by Catherine Ayres https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=632808450607042

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