Walking through the woods the other week I noticed that the bluebell leaves were beginning to poke through. I missed seeing the bluebells last year as we were shielding and confined to our house and garden. The number of new leaves suggests that this year’s crop might be well worth the wait.
A few years ago we went on a walking holiday to Sussex in early May - peak bluebell time. Our first day’s walk included a stretch of the Monarch’s Way through a beech woodland where dappled sunlight shone through new green leaves on to a carpet of bluebells. On and on it went, and on and on for about a mile: about 20 minutes’ walk. By the end of the woodland we were all agreed: we were ‘bluebelled out’.
This goes to show that, even with the most beautiful parts of nature, you can have too much of a good thing. The hymn, ‘Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us’ includes the lines:
Spirit of our God, descending
Fill our hearts with heavenly joy.
Love with every passion blending,
Pleasure that can never cloy.
Anything that we do on this earth has the potential to cloy, to ‘supply with an unwanted or distasteful excess, usually of something originally pleasing’ according to the dictionary definition. Sometimes a break from something, even from something good, something lovely, something wonderful allows us to appreciate it all the more when we return to it.
This year I will especially enjoy the bluebells when they flower, having been deprived of them last year. And, not having received communion since Christmas, I will value it all the more this Easter.
Sat 27th March
I very much enjoy Dave Walker’s cartoons in the Church Times (examples of his work can be found at cartoonchurch.com). I seem to remember that he published one on the subject of returning to church last year, with the church members gradually discovering all the detritus that had accumulated during lockdown as they cautiously peeped through the door.
I heard the story of a church in our diocese whose bellringers inspected the tower before their return to ringing last year, only to find that a flock of white doves had found a way through the louvres and set up home in the belfry, with the result that the bells were unringable due to the accumulated guano. Our return to church for Palm Sunday should not involve any nasty surprises (we hope!) as Revd Steve and the churchwardens have been in and out since Christmas, and even the boiler seems to be behaving at the moment!
I realised this morning as I was taking my usual lockdown apparel of comfortable clothes out of the wardrobe that not only was I going to have to set my alarm on Sunday morning, but I also was going to have to dig out something a little more formal to wear. I’ve been in the same small subset of clothes for so long that I’ve forgotten what the rest of my wardrobe contains. It will, I hope, be a nice surprise to find both old favourites and more probably some more recent purchases I’ve forgotten I bought.
Easter is a time of new life, new hope, and of rediscovering the pleasures of chocolate or wine if we’ve given these up for Lent. Our return to church seems appropriate at this time of year as we rediscover the pleasures of worshipping together in our lovely building. I’m going to have fun finding something different to wear, even if I’m bleary-eyed from the effects of the clocks going forward. I’ll see you there (if I manage to set both the clock and alarm successfully)!