Despite the perpetually unforgiving to-do list, the past day and a half have felt remarkably spacious.
I began yesterday at the primary school — a small school with about 30 students, aged 4-11, which offers a playground on the edge of the sea, with oyster catchers crying and seals bathing on the rocks. We looked at photos and talked about things you might see in a church (font, lectern, altar, sanctuary lamp, cross, dragon…), and then the head teacher led us through a similar exercise with the local landscape (bluebells, badger house, bramble, wild garlic, raven, gorse…).
Then, home to make various phone calls and prepare a liturgy for a house blessing. This was my first time doing a house blessing (which I carefully forgot to mention before doing it…), which meant I went trawling for resources. House blessing seem to be a place where Christianity and New Age practice overlaps a lot. The web wound me back and forth between trinitarian blessings and Native American smudgings, holy water and rings of salt. Interestingly, the services which would probably have been most recognizable to a mediaeval Christian (‘Out, out, evil spirits, out!’) seemed now to be firmly in the wiccan tradition. I walked gingerly around them, while imagine people and places for whom they would be just the right thing.
Liturgy ready, it was time to get props (of course) — bread, wine, olives (in place of salt, and in honour of early communion tables), cheese; scented candle and essential oils to dapple the water and linger meaningfully afterwards.
Then, with too much time to drive to where I needed to be, and too little time to do anything else, I found myself at Kilmun arboretum for twenty minutes of bluebells and dappled light.
Once the congregation was gathered and the house was blessed — windows and doors and pot plants and trees, kitchen appliances and musical instruments, spider’s web and path– we sat and ate. Then off to see Invereck House (housing, it seems, for the sprightly elderly), with a side trip down Glen Massen so that my companion could show me the salmon leap. Dropped her home after a slowly unwinding conversation, and somehow it was evening.
This morning began equally calmly — kitchen to clean, birds to feed, phone calls to make. Spent a few minutes translating Kum Bah Ya into Latin (as you do…), and now it is time to get to work in earnest.
This sense of spaciousness is rare. I am sure I have no less to do than usual, and probably far too many things undone. Yet somehow the stress has been suspended and the things that need to be done feel no more urgent than than the need to watch the light play and the leaves unfurl on a fine Spring day.