Friday, January 16, 2009


The gloom has descended again. The rain has returned, and the wind is already driving the sea over the prom in great white flourishes. According to the excellent Met Office site the weekend is going to be fiercely windy, though apparently not unremittingly wet. And just at this time of day, just as darkness (as distinct from grey miserableness) falls, I'm aware of the power of dusk to evoke memories, emotions.

Larkin knew all about that - the sun's
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening -
in his poem The Old Fools; I used to enjoy awakening that realisation in the minds of Higher English students and seeing the lights come on as they made it their own. And I think of the bleakness of the time just before the evening meal in hospital, and how I wept when my no. 1 son left at the end of hospital visiting time the day before no. 2 son was born and I stood looking at the dark road as the car disappeared and felt completely bereft. There's something about the dying of the day which speaks to us of the final dying of the light, and the telly's not yet assumed its cheerful dominance of the evening and the book has been set aside to save some of it for later (oh, the horror of having nothing to read!) ... enough.

Usually these moments are combatted in my life by physical activity - the walk regardless of the weather, the tea with a friend at the end of a hike. But today I have swum vigorously before spending the morning in mental activity. Surely enough to keep me going? I shall think instead about a question which came up as we discussed the sermons latent in a set of lectionary readings. (Not a current set - Year C, if you're wondering). For it's a fact that as often as not the gospel rakes up a current issue, and for an amateur preacher (for want of a better expression) that's dangerous territory. If you follow this blog, you'll understand when I say that Jesus' refusal to let his followers call down fire on a Samaritan village that wouldn't receive them made me think of the the current situation in Palestine. So I'm looking forward to the session where we discuss how we deal with the bee in the bonnet that starts to buzz in response to the Gospel.

It's almost dark now, and I can forget the weather for 15 hours. And in the dark, there will be no bombers, no flares, no sirens, no death from the skies. What's a spot of rain?

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