It took @ 12 hours, for it to be turned around. I know that the mode of the “to be” verb is subjunctive because I could not turn it around. It was done for me (maybe to me, although I am no proper object).
We are allowed that, right, the bleak moments that creep into the rosemary moments? Writing that reminds me of something that I saw today, and I have seen it many times: a parish priest picking weeds. I have seen a few protestant pastors maintaining the grounds, and nothing against them, but most of them hire it done. And I am not a Protestant or a Catholic in the common sense, but the Catholic priests, those at the local level, have the edge on weed removal. They get out there and do it themselves as an act of service for the people of God, and for God himself. And they usually wear regular clothes while doing it. How do I know, since it’s a guy wearing lay clothes, that he is a priest? I will tell you: one time I pulled up and asked with wasted wit if I could have a cup of water, of sorts. I told him that I’d like to leave one, instead of receive a cup of water in the name of the Lord. In other words, I asked the guy if I could use his restroom. He introduced himself and then gave me directions into the parish church. That is how I know.
Oh, there was a point. Here it is: even in a sanctified place, weeds can creep in, just as in a sanctified man (me, made holy by the righteousness from above, and by the grace that can come only from its truest source, although there is grace around, oh there is grace! and beauty! . . . but more about that later—how’s this for a parenthetical interlude—horrible writing, huh?) bleakness can creep in. And I had quite the bout with the bleak last night.
Bleak is good for something: I cried myself to sleep with it and woke up feeling rested. Once awake today, it was not long at all before the bleak became beauty. You see, the bleak doesn’t get me down. I am not going to quit or anything close to it. It just takes the joy away for a bit. And that makes me almost angry, but I have not once been angry with it. It is closer to bitter, and I will not stand for that. Bitterness is not a place I will reside, so I do anything I can to move out of it. But, it was not easy this time. It lingered, until . . .
What a day! The unspeakably sweet and secret songs all day simply pushed away the bleak and the nearly bitter. I wrote the word “secret” because I won’t mention what I heard, for the most part, but there was a good time with Brahms and that was amazing.
I am thankful to a degree that increases, sometimes exponentially, and that is a miracle. There is no loss, not one step forward and two back. It is one step, pause, another step. A leap. A pause. A longer pause perhaps. A mountain ascended. A rest. A prayer at an altar that is found there on that mountain. A time of solitude, but not retreat. Another path, a straight one, opens up and there is another step. And so on . . .
To accompany one of the songs, a stunning overture (which I heard once before), I saw beautiful flowers. I will not try to identify them; they looked like orchids, but could not be orchids outdoors at this latitude. They were like bells hanging, three of them together, each distinguishable, but together they formed one flower. It was a three in one the color purple, a royal trinity, and it was so so lovely to see and to know—always I know, and sometimes I see—and now it was wonderful to feel again what I always know and sometimes see, as the bleak gave way completely to beauty . . .
Below is one of the songs that captured the tone of the day and introduced even more, as it came to me when I still had many hours of work to do on this route that I have named Shade. And, it is more than interesting, that when I picked up the extra ninety minutes of another route after I’d finished mine, that Shade stayed with me even after I had finished all of it for the day.
And now, it is a lullaby into a sleep with a smile and a songbird to greet me at the first kiss of dawn . . .
Photograph "Written in Stone" © 2018 - ∞ Timothy Waugh