On All Souls ...
This was All Souls' Day in the church Kalendar; for a variety of reasons I was only aware of it through the posts of friends and a discussion on Twitter, of which more anon. It was also the day in which the mild euphoria of having survived my first post-lockdown cold was displaced by the realisation that it's an infection with stamina which leaves me with absolutely none. As for Himself the least said the better - a summons to see the doctor meant dragging him out to the surgery and aroused memories of the days when one's GP would turn up in the middle of the night with his PJs under his outdoor clothes to administer injections and reassurance - how did they manage?
The morning began late because I deliberately set no alarm and didn't wake till 8am. It was filled with text messages as I communicated with our choir - we took the joint decision just to cancel our forthcoming gig right away. It was peppered with phone calls, none of them useful other than that from the surgery - the rest were unconvincing ladies with names like Lily preluding whatever nonsense they were peddling with cheerful enquiries as to whether I was having a good day ... They didn't loiter when I snarled "no". And I washed some towels and hung them out because it was sunny and dry and usefully windy.
I also turned down two offers of walks with friends because the day got on top of me from the word go. I did, however, go out for a walk after I'd dealt with prescriptions and car key batteries; I walked along the East Bay to Kirn and back as the sun set horribly early behind the hills of the Bishop's Glen and left me in shadow. I like that stretch of shoreline, with the outline of the pier darker than the islands downriver in the distance; I like the persistent seagulls swooping round dropping shellfish on the shore - or as today, on a concrete slipway - until the shells cracked and they could have their tea. A small, neat naval ship pottered past; I don't know if it was a COP-related ship or not. By the time I was halfway home my legs were folding under me.
When I was thinking about All Souls, two things came to mind. One was the question, posed by a clergy-person on Twitter, about how to deal with a long list of people to be remembered at a service. If it was "too long" did one just not read them out? And I thought of why people went to these services, and how important it was for them to hear their loved names in that context, and I wondered at the need to ask the question. And my other thought was fleetingly to wonder why our diocese has chosen to collect its clergy together on a residential retreat that includes this day, so that they will all have had to find some way of commemorating All Souls ... early.
And that seems strangely pre-emptive...
*Extra is a portrait of a sprig of Weigela in my garden, because I like it.