Literally ‘by the way’ these impressive soft bracket fungi caught my eye. Without a Polish Babcia to advise me, I thought I’d best leave them for whichever creature has been eating the one at the right. After all, the birds eat yew berries that are poison to us.
My youth was my old age,
Weary and long;
It had too many cares
To think of song;
My moulting days all came
When I was young.
Now, in life's prime, my soul
Comes out in flower;
Late, as with Robin, comes
My singing power;
I was not born to joy
Till this late hour."
W. H. Davies
Another Welsh poet today, this one writing in English. Davies was famously discovered as a poet when he was living in a homeless hostel, walking through London, selling a little booklet of verse from door to door. Before that he had shipped cattle across the Atlantic and tramped over much of North America: the Supertramp. Not a life conducive to singing power.
Never give up on life! Joy comes to many at a late hour, and with it perspective and understanding of the trials and depressions of youth.
The European robin sings through Autumn and Winter to defend its territory but is less vocal when moulting – growing a new suit of feathers.
As part of the Canterbury Festival, much pruned down this year, L’Arche Kent and others have produced an art trail or pilgrimage across the city. I’ve captured a few of the pictures, but the some of the photos are beset with reflections; if I’d used the flash it would have bounced off the windows, hiding the pictures, so here the windows are, mostly taken on a wet day.
Are we inside looking out, or outside looking in? The reflection makes a different picture to what the artists intended!
More from L’Arche Kent’s Rainbow artists, and in the next picture.
A window with a message, linked to the next, which showcases some recycled clothes. I saw the artist assembling this exhibit; he seemed to be enjoying herself and doubtless enjoyed the making of the party outfits. The arch is a ghost image from across the street.
People’s experience of being locked down. Have a good read!
Finally the front window of L’Arche Kent itself at the Saint Radigund’s Street Office! A show of talent.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little autumn pilgrimage across Canterbury. Do keep L’Arche, Catching Lives and all struggling artists in your prayers.
Good morning to you all on this beautiful autumnal morning, and hope this finds you all well, as we are here.
St Dunstan’s turn’s purple! Martin Ward from Canterbury Rotary Club has written the following….
“Two of Canterbury’s Rotary Clubs will be lighting up St Dunstan’s Church this Saturday evening (24th) to mark World Polio Day. The Canterbury and Canterbury Sunrise clubs will be bathing the walls of the ancient building in purple light between around 7.00pm and 9.00pm to help highlight this crucial worldwide health program. Rotary throughout the world has been at the forefront at battling this crippling and life threatening disease through mass immunisation programs and health education. The campaign is bolstered by the generosity of Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, who matches every pound raised by Rotary with two of his. Such is the success of the project there are only two pockets; one in Afghanistan and the other in Pakistan, where the disease is still active.
Earlier on Saturday, around midday, members of the Rotary Club of Canterbury, will be planting purple crocus corms on the corner of St Dunstan’s and London Road to create an annual swathe of purple as a reminder of the End Polio Now campaign.”
Sign outside the betting shop: STAY SAFE! KEEP YOUR DISTANCE! Sounds like excellent advise to me!
These last few weeks we may seem to have forgotten and foregone our response to the corona corvid viral pest, but we are still here and safe and healthy. This sighting was worth sharing. We hope you’ve had an excellent summer with plenty of free vitamin D from the sunshine. Happy Autumn; keep safe and keep praying!
Just looking at this photograph, I can feel the cold; the crisp, clear cold of the Alpine winter I enjoyed in my youth. We may well not see a flake this winter down in Kent, but we ca expect some cold, wet, ‘let’s stay indoors’ days.
Time to sit in the warm and be grateful for it, not taking it for granted. The sentence I quoted above invites us to such reflection, for it reads in full:
Autumn can be a powerful time of reflection about life, transition, change, death, and what comes after the winter snows of our Earthly journey’s end.
Well, when I read Fr James Kurzynski’s article back in October I had already slotted posts for every day that could count as officially autumnal, but it seemed just as appropriate to Advent, so I’m sharing it now. Follow the link to Fr James’s back yard. He was stargazing, not looking for the Star of Bethlehem, but still found wonder, light and burning beauty in the skies and in his soul.
A bit cold in the Northern hemisphere for lying out on the grass, but telescope or no telescope, even five minutes stargazing in a city garden brings a reminder of the wonders of ‘our galactic home’.
Saint Francis did not have a telescope but he did have a family; we read about his renunciation of their privileged way of life tomorrow. That decision enabled him to lie down on Sister Earth anf admire the heavens!
After a night of high winds and rain, this was the view greeting me when I came through to the bathroom with its big Velux roof window: golden birch leaves, a great sprinkling of little, three cornered birch seeds, and at the top a lime (tillia) seed wing with two hanging seeds.
Seeds of both trees rely on the wind to take root elsewhere, away from their parent that would otherwise deprive them of light; both trees have their own method to prepare and form the next generation. An oak is growing from a small, abandoned patch of land nearby. A magpie or a squirrel must have buried the acorn.
If every birch seed grew to maturity we would soon be well afforested. Not entirely practical here and now, but maybe a little guerrilla gardening will help the oak grow to a good height before I’m too old to appreciate it. Who’s watching?
The golden birch leaves are enjoying their last moment of glory, and so am I – not my own last moment of glory, I need to grow a bit more and die a bit more first; but I am enjoying the gold of the birch.
So let’s get out and really enjoy the autumn – or even enjoy watching it happening through the windows.
A poor life this if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
And the good Lord did tell us to consider the grasses of the field; (Luke 12:27-31) we should get to know our local area and have a care for its plants, even up to oak trees, or future oaks. Laudato Si!
Perhaps, too, we should be readier to take wing on the wind of the Spirit, blowing where She will.
The leaves are not all down, despite the winds’ best efforts, so I can still share an autumnal story. LAudato si!
It was a little damp for sweeping leaves, but the apricot was shedding its gold over the public footpath and we didn’t want passers-by slithering at the corner, so out came the broom.
Perhaps it was the dampness that brought it out: a distinct scent of apricot rising from the leaves! I never noticed that before. Let’s hope it’s a promise of harvests to come.
A few days later, as I went to lock up for the night, I noticed the remaining leaves glowing and dancing in the lamplight. (I wish I could say moonlight, but she was obscured by low cloud.)
A silent disco; people pay good money for such entertainment!
I am always grateful when my sense of smell surprises me in this way. I lived largely without it for years. Laudato Si! for the apricot tree, for the leaves – and yes, for the lamplight – on this occasion. It is not necessary and pollutes the night sky, but just this once, Laudato Si! And Laudato si! for the surgery that, as an unexpected side effect, allowed me to smell again.
(A version of this post has appeared on the Will Turnstone blog)
We can never have too much poetry, nor too much Hopkins. Here he is writing to a young child, but also to himself, and to those who have ears to hear. Earlier this year young Abel, then aged 2½, was inconsolably grieving for the snow. Echoes of Bottom’s speech in Twelfth Night?
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.