This morning I stood at a window holding a bowl of hot tea while watching a swallow circling a pond into which, every third round or so, it shot like a bullet. The window was shut, I couldn’t hear the swallow. But I could see its jubilation.

This afternoon I saw a paraglider under a billowing, bright yellow sail perform gracious wind-whirls, all the lovelier for being wholly gratuitous.

It struck me that the two were doing the same thing: making being explicit and delighting in it. What a splendid urge all creatures have to enact that line in Hopkins’s poem, almost a confession: ‘What I do is me, for that I came’. Yet how much distracts us from it. How easily we surrender to unselving and so accumulate, instead of joy, dispiriting sadness.