|A sow thistle growing on a wall may flower and thrive.|
A human with no-where to go will be less successful.
As you know - can't fail to have missed - I am impressed by street plants. They live in shop doorways and gutters and flourish there. People don't.
You may also have gathered from previous posts that I visit Oxford from time to time. What I haven't said in these posts is that while photographing street plants, I've been taken aback by how many people live on pavements there too. I mean, in almost every town people sleep rough - but in Oxford, to an outsider like me, the visible numbers are shocking - so many doorways are every night turned into cramped, temporary bedrooms.
|The sycamore tree in a drain we have followed for the last few years |
still lives but is getting a bit cramped.
Drains are not meant for trees - nor shop doorways for humans.
I don't understand. Oxford is a place with one of the best universities in the world. It's a place stodgy with outstanding brains. You'd have thought they could have set aside some time to put their intellectual heads together and work out what can be done.
Meanwhile, council funding for charities working with and for homeless people in Oxford has been cut by £1.5 million this year.
I don't want to go on about Oxford over much. It's just happens to be where I get most shocked. It's the place where I think about homelessness more than I do anywhere else - even more than where I live. It's the place where I think, over and over "what are minds for if not for addressing these kinds of basic needs?" And it's where (I expect you were waiting for this . . . ) where I know someone who is taking part in an event to raise a little of the money charities need to help those who are homeless, or newly homeless, or newly with a roof over their heads. Having somewhere to stay - though important - is not the end of the matter. It means a life-style change and that doesn't necessarily come easy to everyone.
|Weymouth, June 2016|
It's always hard to think of an event that will draw people to raise money, to raise consciousness, to 'make something happen' without it being naff or offensive. Selling jam to raise money for famine victims it's . . . well, there's something uncomfortable about it. So it may be that the group of students and local citizens who will be 'sleeping-out' for one night may find it a bit awkward . . . Being in the open for one night is not the same as curling up under a cardboard box every night in November. However . . . however . . . however awkward it feels . . . sometimes if money is needed you have to go with the ideas you come up with; ideas that are within your reach to fulfil
By clicking the link you'll go to the Just Giving page of a first-time fundraiser. She won't be the only one coming at this from scratch but she happens to be the one I know . . . And while each participant has been asked to raise £100 by being cold for a few hours . . . it would be good if every one of them were to raise more, for it's not for themselves they are doing it.
If any of you do feel moved to give - perhaps you will think of those street plants
And how people are rarely as resilient as they are.
Money raised will be shared between
Photos in this post were taken in Dorset, not in Oxford. But these kinds of plants live in both places.
P.S. I suddenly realise it looks a bit odd, exhorting you to give when it seems (from the list) as if I haven't done so myself! But due to the nature of my card I had to use the 'anonymous' option.