Thursday, 4 August 2016

A meditation on the appearance of things

 We gave the Helen hen an honourable burial because we felt that she was an honourable hen and deserved a good send off.  The grandchildren picked flowers and put them on her newly dug grave.  We all hoped that she had winged off not just to hen heaven but to a far better life next time round.
ancient Greek feet

my modern foot
It gives pause for thought and I look round this house which is quite old, older than I am and a house which has been lived in by two generations of this family.  It looks quite old!! and I wonder who will ever clear it up after we two old things shift off our mortal coil or move to "sheltered accommodation".  Most of all, I am struck by the fact that what appears old is actually not really old at all.  Maybe the oldest things are 200 years old but in the bigger picture of time, that is just a moment.  So, what is the house trying to show me and what am I using it for to show others.  Somewhere underlying the thingness of things, there is a sound of family, a sound of familiarity, a sound of tradition.  The games the children and grandchildren are playing were played by my parents, the flowers from the garden are in vases used by my mother in law and the flowers might have been planted in the flowerbeds when she was here.  The Church bells ring on a Monday night, like clockwork the church bell climb up the bell tower, winter and summer at 7.00 pm, after tea and pull the ropes with their funny wooly hand holds and we all stop what we are doing as they peal out across the flatlands of Cambridgeshire.  
All grandparents look both back and forwards, back to their own pasts and what seemed good, and forward with a mixture of admiration for the new ways, and concern that the things which have held families, societies and nations together for certainly centuries, might be eroded by modern thinking.  Then I think, this is all cyclical, it comes round and round and the things which really matter aren't in bookcases, or in the drawers of old bureaus, they are the ancient truths which live in all our hearts waiting to be brought out and considered freshly.  
A very old chapel with today's sun shining in

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