Monday, 5 January 2009

Wandering with Wordsworth.

The rapidity of the journey from Nativity to Epiphany and then next Sunday to Baptism has been playing on my mind recently as the turning of the secular year reveals six short months before, God willing, I take up my curacy. There is an awful lot to do in those six months, not least leaving space for God to continue His work within me. Ramsbottom station pictured above was gripped in freezing fog the other day as I ill advisedly went for a walk there and it was not unpleasant to spend half an hour looking down the tracks into a white wall of fog and then nothing, enjoying the still silence before today, when things get back to normal for most of us, I assume. Soon we will be in Ordinary Time and soon even we will be in Lent, there will be little time for stillness and enjoying where I am now, but looking ahead making sure that I have done everything I need to do before my move.

See how fast things go! How we inadvertently wish away the days and weeks, I am talking of Lent when we are not really at the Epiphany yet! Those of us in England and Wales will have kept it yesterday, for no better reason that that most other people are doing and thus keeping it on the Tuesday would deprive a great number of people of the feast for minimal observance seems to be the way the world is going. I have always thought that greater Holy Days should be kept, on the day, with a low Mass in the Parish and a joint High Mass or similar at a different Church each time in the local cluster of like minded Churches, arranging coaches to the Church from their Parish. The Choirs of each Church could join together for the feast and serving teams could amalgamate, each Parish bringing their banner and a flower display, or whatever, in short, involving the people of God, together, to produce something extraordinary on what could seem an ordinary Tuesday night. If there are any Churches nearby under the care of the superb Abandoned Churches Trust, then the Mass could even be held there, if it were convenient.

Ramsbottom is much changed recently, having become home to a number of businesses like the one above, as well as eye wateringly expensive coffee houses and restaurants. The farriers and chip shops hang on seeing which way the wind will blow next. It all makes for an interesting ramble for a Wanderer and the words of William Wordsworth come to mind in his 'Admonition to a traveller' as I do so.....

Yes, there is holy pleasure in thine eye!
- The lovely cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirred thee deeply; with its own dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!

But covet not the abode -O do not sigh
As many do, repining while they look;
Intruders who would tear from Nature's book
This precious leaf with harsh impiety:

- Think what the home would be if it were thine,
Even thine, though few thy wants! -Roof, window, door,
The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,

The roses to the porch which they entwine:
Yea, all that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touched would melt away!

Which well echoes my sentiment at the beginning of a half year of movement and change and acts as a good admonishment not to be too attached to the good things done here. I can probably get half an hour to wander through Platt Fields Park this afternoon enjoying the snow and remembering playing rugby on hard ground. Ouch. Then on with the year!