Close-up

To get close-up to Springtime unfolding in nature is to encounter experience of awe and wonder. Every tiny hair and stem and vibrating atom invites me to deep contemplation: why such beauty? Why such variety? Why me, and this capacity that I have, and you have, to experience our environment in such deeply affecting ways? And my sense of gratitude, my awareness and observation, my being here, reaching out and reaching in – is something akin to love …

Birthday diving boards

Happy birthday, Mum. We’ll remember today’s celebration for weeks and months to come – the wonderful meal, the family members gathered in spirit if not in person, the phone calls, the little gifts, the old letters and photographs, the being startled about exceptionally sharp memories of some things, and somewhat foggy ones of others – whilst the important fact of the matter remains our shared enjoyment in reminiscing.

Your birthday, like all birthdays, is special. And birthdays are special because they provide occasion for fond re-membering on the one hand, and also act as a kind of diving board into all the living that’s ahead of us all – saying, with Dag Hammarskjöld, ‘for all that has been, thanks: for all that will be, yes!’ We’re shaped by the passing of each and every year we remember, rooted in family and friendships.

And taking stock of how our years have made us who we are, we take especial note of our having been dearly loved in the course of our journeying. And as we think on being loved we realise that birthdays – and all our days – are still bringing new life to birth – yours and ours. Happy birthday, Mum. Thank you for all that you are. And may your everyday be a happy day.

🤗🎉xxx

Somewhere …

Mildly chastising myself for being out and about later today – and having missed my sunrise walk – suddenly, in the way of these things, this came into view. And all the mind chatter was hushed.

‘Ours is not to reason …’ And indeed, always – and happily – there’s a new ‘Somewhere …’

And later in the day: another ‘rainbow’ …

Sunday

Photo by Gruescu Ovidiu on Unsplash
Above the storm

Sheer through the storm into the sun the plane
Shot, streaming silver from its wings;
And he who'd won through volleys of blind rain
And baffling smother of dense cloud
To heights of rare 
And eager air,
Keen-edged as icy wine,
Where only man's heart sings
In the celestial hyaline,
Where only man's heart sings, adoring,
Beyond the range even of the eagle's soaring -
He, who braved the tempest's rage and roaring,
Sang out above the loud
Propeller's whirring
As in the crystal light
Above the cursed white
Of billowy snows

He rose
Even to his own heart's height;
And happily in flashing flight
He soared and swooped
And zoomed and looped
With ease unerring
Through the unsearchable inane
In dizzy circles of insane
And death-defying insolence
Of youth's delight
Above the sunny dense
And seething cloud whereunder
Still rolled the thunder
Over an earth already drowned in night.

He soared and swooped again,
Exulting in the flawless enginery
Of hand and brain
That, even in the heady urgency
And wildest flight
Of his insatiable soul,
Obeying his intrepid will,
Still kept serene control
Of his frail plane
That hung
Ever on peril's edge and swung
In thin and scarce-sustaining air
As by a single hair,
When one missed heart-beat or untaken breath
Might lunge him in a fiery plunge to death.

And still in aerial ecstasy,
A flittering midge in the infinity
Of heaven, he revelled till the light
Drained even from that celestial height,
And through the icy beryl of the night
Star after star dawned silverly.

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, 1878-1962
of Hexham, Northumberland

Another startlingly beautiful Autumn morning walk during which Wilfrid Gibson’s ‘Above the Storm’ has echoed in me. A friend, at the village’s Remembering, later, said: ‘and so to the turning of the year.’ And it is heartening, touching, to see youngest and oldest standing, contemplating, remembering here. Yes, in so many more ways than one, ‘the turning of the year.’

And Nature, in this turning, calms and steadies both our remembering and our hoping. Walking homewards each morning I marvel at the bedrock of the Pennine Ridge – the ‘spine’ of the United Kingdom. Sometimes warmed by illuminating sunlight, sometimes dark and brooding; today, it seems – like cosseted, dust-covered furniture in a stately home – softly covered with a duvet of fluffy cloud – sustaining, watering and warming. Yes, ‘he rose / Even to his own heart’s height.

And remembering, and hoping, is thankful.