A sea-blown coast greets me as I step outside. Treasures tangles in jumbled seaweed. Bright yellow boot, washed ashore. Waiting patiently for its companion to join the party. The mermaids have been shopping again, their purses emptied and tossed to one side. Parchment thin, translucent. Weathered sea-glass lies on the surface of the sand, shining like an emerald in the sun. Satin smooth to touch. I cradle it in my palm, this gift from the sea. The sky drums down rain. The sun shines in melody. And above me dances a rainbow.
A bitter north wind blows around the house. Banging at windows and doors as though to seek entry. The fire in the hearth fights back defiantly, spitting up the chimney. I sit barricaded against the cold, quilt thrown over me. Hands occupied with stitching, the picture slowly forms.
A sunflower for a friend, cheery colours in the winter dusk. My mind wanders back to the summer. Sunflowers nodding their heads in the garden. Planted as part of Good Friday meditations, they took until late August to come into bloom. A period of waiting, of expectation. Of watering, care, nurture. Finally the buds were seen. They slowly opened out, blossoming in the heat. Following the sun with their faces.
Hands occupied with stitching, the picture slowly forms. Seeds planted. I wait for the coming of spring, for the blossoming. For the harvest.
‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11
The bright light shone through the curtains, waking me from sleep. Curious, I rose and peeked out. Silver lit the scene. Patches of fog snuggled in the vegetable patch, bedded down for the night. The moon stretched out her fingers, reaching down to the earth. Mist rose to bow to his love, and the moonbeams sailed down, rising and falling in stately dance. The rising wind eddied the pair into a wild jig. Sitting on the window sill, I watched entranced. Protective clouds gathered around the moon as she traced glowing paths across the garden. Slowly she waved her goodbyes, leaving me to my rest.
The wind stirs the boats in the harbour. A gentle clanging as ropes bang against mast, rocked by the waves. The fishing fleet is out in the bay. All seems serene. Yet blown on the wind comes a raucous sound. The other side of the sea wall, the tide runs straight up to the rocks. Where the river runs into the sea. There the gulls are gathering. Not floating serenely, but in a frenzy of excitement. Here, where bitter salt meets sweet water, life explodes into being.
While the sun shines, I break free from the house. After a night of rain, the street is washed clean, puddles lying at the edges. The grass on the verges squelches under my feet, mud oozing over my boots. I stroll along the road, idly watching the world pass by. The drainage ditch is overflowing. A new pond has formed in the field over the stone wall. The sea-birds seem to have migrated over from the seashore. I stand and watch as the oyster-catchers paddle in the edge, and the curlews peck at the soil. The gulls float serenely on the pool. The cows seem a little bemused by their company, stood staring from the edges of the field. They seem to be having a soggy time, green shoots muddied by their feet. The stream churns through the field, stirring up the mud on its way to the sea.
The moon floats over sunset hill as we walk. Gravel crunches under our feet. Setting sun reflects in the pools. The low lights cast the fossil footprints into sharp relief, hidden among the rock-strewn beach. The cliffs seem to be caressing each other, ripples of stone on stone. Tucked by the shore’s edge, the holy well is in full spate. The ancient tree cradles the stream as it trickles past, frozen in time. At this most sacred season, the water flows again, bringing new life. The stillness rolls over this place, breath of time itself.
The alder cones dangle
Empty from the branch
Promise of new life to come
And so we wait
As we celebrate
Of the first promise
For the second coming
For the new dawn
For the future
For the alder to blossom
And bear fruit
In due season.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6