I've just read a tweet from a Church of England cleric asking to hear from all those who wanted church to confine itself exclusively to a small screen viewed in solitude. There was more, about beautiful music, architecture, atmosphere - but what was interesting to me was the pile-on in the responses to this ironic post, suggesting that he was deeply un-Christian for even suggesting that pre-pandemic normality in worship might be something we'd aspire to regain. As people begin to discuss what life might look like in this country "afterwards", I find myself recoiling at what emerges - often from people who have never before this year used online technology and now seem enthralled by it.
However, we had a lovely church service this morning despite the restrictions still firmly in place. Himself played a lovely introit based on a May Carol that we used to sing in the New Consort of Voices, the octet in which we met - my idea, this one, and people loved it. Afterwards we stood outside in the perishing cold and talked for ages; it's obvious how much we've missed each other when we were just wee screen faces. No sign here, thank goodness, of abandoning our building, chilly or not, nor our actual services.
Our walk this afternoon took us back along the loch side track we took the family along last Sunday. It looked very different under a cloudy sky - there were even some showers of driving rain - and the loch was grey instead of blue. But the biggest change was in the landscape itself; the photo shows the woodland between the track and the loch just before the waterworks, where all the conifers appear to have been felled and are lying where they fell like dead bodies. There were new signs up too, warning of felling operations and forbidding access; we pay no heed to such notices on a Sunday, but fear that our pleasant path is going to turn into a reinforced road for removing timber, and the familiar woodland on the hill above into a battlefield landscape of tree stumps and tangled branches. We know that much of our access to wild places is facilitated by forestry, and we know that we've lived here long enough for a whole growth cycle to have been completed - but when you add these things together the resulting changes to the landscape come as a nasty shock.
Will this week's election bring more change?