Sunday, April 05, 2009

To Spring (and Love) - and all that will follow.

O Thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Thro' the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!

The hills tell each other, and the list'ning
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turnèd
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth,
And let thy holy feet visit our clime.

Come o'er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our love-sick land that mourns for thee.

O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish'd head,
Whose modest tresses were bound up for thee.

William Blake

Its that time of year - the bike has been rescued from its winter hibernation in the garage, had its yearly service and I am once again riding through the forests of Sanctus B. And its glorious - you can smell spring in the air, the new life is bursting through the earth and everything feels new and possible and glorious. I love this time of year in Ireland when the moving from one season to the next is so clearly defined. Which brings me to my own moving from one season of life to the next. It happened like this......

On a sunday afternoon we took a drive through the rolling drumlins of County Down. The clouds scattered and the sunlight flooded the car. We stopped at a country church, built on the site of the first church established on this isle by St Patrick. Inside its simple stone walls there is an altar with a silver cross and a lone stained glass window. The Sun bled through the many colours of the saint and filled the church. We stopped to enjoy the silence and then prayed on the sacred ground. Prayed for wisdom and blessing and all that would follow in the fullness of life both in sorrow and in laughter.

A short drive up the shore to another Holy island on the lough which had been the site of an early Irish Celtic monastery. The remnants of the church, the walls and the High tower are still there and the view over the water is breathtaking. In the shelter of the tower we read some Mary Oliver .....
'You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine'

because real life is as much about sadness as it is about joy and its good to make peace with that from the start. And then we sat overlooking the Lough , exactly where we had broken bread almost a year before, on one of our first dates. And in the twinkling of an eye I knelt and asked my Anam Cara to take a risk and share our lives and our journey from here to the place where all journeys end.

With that one small word of an answer both of our lives changed forever in ways we can't yet imagine. We journeyed back to Belfast where the community toasted us with champagne and Father Padraig blessed the day in poetry and song - using the ancient tongue of our island to call down God's blessing on our new life.

And so spring is full of joy and I walk towards the future more in hope than fear.

The Blessing of St Patrick surround you.