I have introduced the composer Joseph Guy Ropartz already to you, so we can go straight to the matter. One of the reasons I like Ropartz is the fact that we are both infatuated with la Bretagne, Brittany. Ah, la Bretagne… a very special place. The wind, the dramatic coastline, the emerald colour of the sea, the crèpes – so many things to love about Brittany. And then there is the music, the Celtic heritage and Ropartz’ composition deeply imbued by this tradition.
Less than two weeks ago, few people on earth knew about Mount Ok. Mount Ok is a volcano located in Iceland, and scientists followed with fascination and horror the evolution of its glacier Okjoküll. Mount Ok and its glacier made it into the news because the glacier is gone by now. Okjoküll is a victim of man-made climate change, he melted and finally became what glaciologists call “dead ice”. Glaciers move through their sheer weight and when they have shrunk so far that they stop moving, they are no longer considered as glaciers. The disappearance of Okjoküll was commemorated by an official ceremony as a sign of what is to be expected in the Alps, in the Rocky Mountains and in the Antarctic. A warning, one more.
I would like to hope that this summer will be a summer of peace, despite the drum beats in different parts of the world. I wish this summer could be devoted to the contemplation of the beauty of nature and of mankind’s cultural achievements. I wish it could inspire policy makers to realize that in a globalized world, pitting one nation against the other is a zero-sum game, inviting to revenge, and will ultimately lead to a loose-loose situation. Global issues need to be addressed in a comprehensive way and in a spirit of cooperation. There is no planet B. For nobody.
16 hours and 18 minutes of daylight. Solstice. The longest day of the year. The sun has risen at 05:28 and sets – right now, at 21:46. Nautical twilight will start at 22:30, astronomical twilight at 23:34. There will be no official night as astronomical twilight will last until 03:40 when the next day is well underway. For ten thousands of years, solstice has occupied Man’s mind for reasons linked to practical life, worshipping and science. A moment of magic. I invite you to contemplate the nocturnal sky if the sky is clear and to ponder the fact that during Stone Age already men, women and children contemplated this very sky, searched for the brightest stars and wondered whether it all had a deeper meaning. Man meets infinity when he looks up at the sky at night and realizes how small he actually is.