like summer flowers
we turn our faces gladly
to sunlight and warmth
‘Do you ever just close your eyes on winter evenings to remember summer?’ my friend asked me, earlier today, with a wistful look in her eyes. ‘On winter evenings, certainly,’ I replied, ‘and pretty much most mornings, too.’
Sure enough, I’m an advocate of living in the present, but part of the joy of living now is time found here to re-member the past, thereby inspired to breathe deep today, and begin to imagine and to shape the next second or two, as we do.
So here’s a little revisiting Summer ’16. You’re invited to stay here, now, for a little space, and – hopefully – some present grace …
I’ve tried to count
your petals but lose
track each time
around and recall
that numbers never
touched my senses
with clarity of cold
or warmth or taste or
touch or sight or
scent or sound and
after rain this late
I note that tall
and elegant you’re
not much of an
and for you too
life is celebrated
sometimes by each of
these but in the main
by radically returning
your searching face to
The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
R S Thomas
Collected Poems, page 302
I’ve noticed sunlight especially at various times and in various places in the past few days. If you close your eyes and think of a high mountainside in shade, or of a high street freshly washed with heavy rain from leaden sky – and stay with that for a moment: and then become aware of a sudden sweeping, a bright swathe of sunlight rolling out like a silk sheet across everything you can see in front of you, then you’ll readily recall the kind of experience I’m talking about.
Such a sight often stops me in my tracks when out and about. And today the flowers in our cottage garden have several times suddenly flared into the three dimensional – banishing greyness, demanding to be noticed.
And I’m always grateful when I do. And I’m always mindful that I need to more. And also always thankful to recall the wisdom of a great and reflective contemplative who inclined at times to the curmudgeonly but was, nevertheless, a channel for – as well as one most particularly attuned to – miracles of revelation.
Life is not hurrying … it is the turning aside to the miracle of the lit bush …
And I look back at the course of the hours of the day, and remind myself of the times and of the places when and where the “light” has caught my eye – and know that ground so touched is holy.
Wow, it’s blowing a gale here today. From time to time the roof of this old house creaks and invisible power lifts heavy slate and rafter as though the whole place were yawning and stretching – awakening perhaps, in imagination at least, to the brightness and promise of Spring. Birdsong rises above the sound of the wind – in fact everything, everywhere seems to be singing.
For actually the sky is bright and blue and clear – though “more grey”, says the Met Office, “for later”. Our first two brave daffodils are laughing in the current we can’t see – so imagination isn’t necessary, but flourishing anyway, so that one is almost certainly hearing these yellow harbingers calling out to the others, still furled and cautious, to hurry up and join the festival!
Walking out from the gym into morning sunlight earlier we noticed that grey had been swapped for blue and gold by an efficiently unseen mover and shaker. Yesterday the shoppers grumbled. Today they strode purposefully – with a gleam in the eye that suggested “blow the diet. Let’s have sticky toffee pudding” – throwing aforementioned caution, as they say, to the wind. Ha!
A flock of Canada Geese didn’t appear in the least-bit put out about being thrown off course. Collared doves and rooks are perhaps a little more anxious as they find it difficult enough already trying to get a grip on the sparrows’ suet feeder. My fastidiously brushed hair is roughly tousled by an out of sight tease. The affrontery of this gale! – but it absolutely makes me smile, despite myself.
Dank air around everything’s having been continuously flooded, soaked or frozen for weeks on end is blown elsewhere, somewhere, and the cosmic dryer disperses surface puddles and temporary field-lakeland. Forest deadwood falls to the floor, continuing its designed cycle of being and becoming, making way for new shoots, twigs, leaves and branches. Other-plane-power from beyond.
Resurrection. Warming. Wind-lift.