I enjoyed watching evening’s arrival from the warmth and comfort of my chair at home tonight. Having practiced silent meditation for most of my life (even, as I hinted here recently, when I was “supposed to be concentrating”, as far back as primary school days) I’ve long delighted in tender observation, in letting, in allowing. And the watching and the letting often give rise to awareness of deep emotion, to a familiar catch in the throat, to an abiding deep thankfulness.
Tonight I’ve been touched by evening’s arrival, and – like the frames in an old cine reel – moving pictures of evenings and places past have flickered into view and gone again. Over and over and over again, constant practice, tender rehearsal, from the moment we arrive in this world to the moment of our departure from it, life prepares us, tenderly. As I read somewhere recently, “the cosmos loves us”.
Evening and morning and morning and evening. Winter and summer and summer and winter. Autumn and spring and spring and autumn. And always, for the watchful, the persistent call; always, for the contemplative, the cantus firmus, the hum, the murmur, the rumour, the dyings and risings, the sunsets and sunrises of life leading onwards always to Life.
Perhaps it was by way of infinite tenderness, practice and acceptance, that the poet Jane Kenyon knew, I think, of life’s gentler preparations – though she suffered lifelong depression and died of leukaemia at 47. And I’ve been reading the silent music between her lines with attention at least as close as that most immediately invited by the lines themselves …
Let evening come
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Let evening come