2017 almost ended on a bit of a duff note. I had been driving around in an illegal car and worrying about being stopped (one of its back lights had failed), and on New Year’s Eve our central heating packed up.
We saw 2018 in by watching the telly and waiting for the fireworks display from London. It turned out to be a great display, but it was bracketed on both sides by terrible music (whatever happened to Neil Shand and his Band, and The White Heather Club?).
I went to bed approaching 1 o’clock feeling less than festive, and put the radio on. The Shipping Forecast, and afterwards the litany of the Coastal Stations, taking listeners around the whole of our island, was so soothing and almost prayer-like by comparison. Then the announcer concluded the broadcast for the day by wishing everyone a Happy New Year, following it with the National Anthem.
2017 was over, and 2018 had begun properly at last. I turned over contentedly and went to sleep.
The early months of 2018 have of course not been easy. The weather has been harsh. I can’t remember ever walking in the cold wind with my eyes and nose streaming quite so badly.
But then the little green spears of snowdrops and daffodils began to reassure us that, in the words
If I had to sum up Spring in one word, it would have to be the word Hope. The days will not all be bright and sunny, and the warmth will no doubt be slow in making itself felt, but as this lovely season progresses, everything about is says Hopefulness.
G.K. Chesterton wrote: “There is one thing which gives radiance to everything It is the idea of something around the corner.” And as a Chinese proverb has it, “If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.”
Emily Dickinson was a strange withdrawn writer, who yet managed to translate her contemplative experience into universal and religious terms. Perhaps her most famous utterance is, “Hope is the thing with feathers – that perches in the soul…” These expressions of optimism, couched in terms of budding plants and little singing birds, are a perfect emblem of Spring.
As the lengthening days move on towards the equinox, may the natural world find its reflection in our own hearts, and may we cherish the outward forms that now so exquisitely prefigure our inner spiritual life.
With good wishes to all our members and friends,
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
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