Almost a year ago I was inspired by some very compelling people to take up change ringing. This is a very British thing to do. There is ringing in churches throughout Europe, but change ringing - the patterns of which look very much like any cable graph - is pretty unique to this island and the places colonised by it. Anyway, I've been learning a totally new skill. Last weekend, I rang outside my home tower for the first time.
One of the nice things about this outing was trying my hand at different bells, seeing what sorts of strangenesses there could be that our tower just doesn't have. It was also nice to wander through a bunch of churches in charming villages. In one of these churches was the quarterly bulletin, with a letter from the vicar reminding his parishioners that he is never too busy to attend them, especially when ill. "I do not have a sliding scale of concern," he wrote, and this phrase has stuck with me.
On the one hand, greyscale is vital. The ability to rate the importance of an incident or task, the balancing of impact when there's so much going on: these are what allow us to get through the day, to manage our time and to not sweat the small stuff. On the other hand, the ability to adjust as more information comes in is equally valuable. And ultimately isn't the most important thing how we work with those in our world?
Ringing is a team activity. You must listen to your fellow band members, make little adjustments to keep in with them or it can all go wrong. Each member of the band carries equal responsibility in creating this lovely sound.
In other words, it's all about balance. It always comes back to balance.