PRELUDE TO JULY
A heart-warming sight
It was just before 7.00 a.m. when I saw Brunie,
with paws tucked-in, serenely sitting by the door
leading to the blue-carpeted stairs.
As I bent down I saw a small mouse sheltering close to her.
Brunie stood up as I came to stroke her, and the mouse moved away.
I was able to take hold of the small creature
and took it outside,
leaving it under a bush with good ground cover.
Brunie remained indoors, so I fed Brunie and Goldie on my return.
All remained tranquil and peaceful.
It was a most heart-warming experience:
Brunie seems to have some maternal instinct after all !
Thanks be to God.
Mandala Abstract Bruno
"To find that one has reached and passed
the Biblical three score and ten
has a sobering effect upon most people
for the Bible seems to think that you have had it by then.
So you have, in one sense.
You have almost closed the circle,
and like a ship that has sailed round the world,
you can see the last stretch of water narrowing
at a startling pace.
But the coast to which you sail is obscured:
the breaking waves and the rainbows in them
show you the shapes and the colours
of our own childhood...."
The Joy of the Snows.
Our wonderful garden is enfolded by green trees in full leaf.
The dominant colour of flowers is now white,
with red and pink roses amid the luxuriant growth,
where self-seeded evening primroses bloom.
Two magnificent trees, now diseased, are being cut-down
in a next-door garden. They are more than one-hundred years old.
The sound of the electric saws is not pleasant.
Dave has been working on the lower pool:
amid the sludge he netted so carefully and put into a wheel-barrow
we searched for tiny fish and small newts.
They were then carefully placed in the upper pool
and took cover under lily-leaves.
The sludge itself was moved to areas of bare soil
close to the ponds.
I am enjoying doing gardening again after many years,
possibly twenty, and having the freedom to decide what needs doing.
The weather this year has resulted in plants and bushes growing tall,
some smothering others, other seeding copiously.
They look lovely from a distance.
Dave noticed that some apple trees had white patches on their trunks,
indicating the presence of small wasps, potentially lethal to the tree,
and treated them with an appropriate spray.
A plum tree in our guest-house garden was in the same state.
It is strange to think that insects can do so much harm.
But then human beings and animals cause much more damage
in their search for survival.
"Let him who is without fault cast the first stone".
St Swithins Day began with a heavy downpour of rain, followed by sunshine.
Actually, the rainy season began much earlier !
Our garden is now radiant with colour, with plants taller than usual.
Yesterday the meadow was cut some six inches from the ground.
The pear trees, which have never looked healthy,
are now going to be dug around, as they need to grow in soil,
free from encroachment ... like the fig tree in the Gospel parable,
in the hope that they will later bear fruit.
Our fig trees are certainly doing so!
Mandala Fig Pattern
Much has been happening in the world around us:
our new Prime Minister, Theresa May,
has been described as a "Quiet daughter of the Church".
Our only other female prime minister,
Margaret Thatcher, was the daughter of a Methodist lay preacher.
Theresa Mays father was an Anglican priest, trained at Mirfield.
She seems to be at ease with Catholics and Catholicism,
having attended the Catholic Vespers said for the first time for 450 years
at Hampton Court Palaces chapel in February this year.
However, she began her office due to the crisis in Europe
and needs our prayers.
Tuesday 19th July
This was an extremely hot day, with the touch of an Italian summer,
but without the night-time hum of mosquitoes seeking nourishment !
I spent much of the day reading a Ngaio Marsh mystery -
without turning to the last pages to discover the murderer....
Some of the readings we share before Vespers each day
are very interesting.
The anthology, A TREASURY OF THE KINGDOM, was
compiled by E.A. BLACKBURN and others
and published by the Oxford University Press in 1954.
In small print on the title page is a quotation from St. Luke xvii.21
The Kingdom of God is within you.
A poem by Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849) entitled PRAYER
has contemporary relevance for us:
"Be not afraid to pray - to pray is right.
Pray, if thou canst, with hope; but ever pray,
Though hope be weak, or sick with long delay;
Pray in the darkness, if there be no light.
Far is the time, remote from human sight,
When war and discord on the earth will cease;
Yet every prayer for universal peace
Avails the blessed time to expedite.
Whateer is good to wish, ask that of Heaven,
Though it be what thou canst not hope to see;
Pray to be perfect, though material leaven
Forbid the spirit so on earth to be:
But if for any wish thou darest not pray,
Then pray to God to cast that wish away."
The meadow as it was
Saturday 23rd July
The hot weather has continued:
in the afternoon I sometimes sit reading on a bench
under a hazelnut tree with russet leaves.
It began to rain yesterday and I enjoyed the shower !
When it was not too hot I continued dead-heading plants
while Dave meticulously cleared the meadow area,
also digging around the pear trees,
and then providing poles for the blackberry bushes.
He is doing excellent work.
The blackbirds are now pecking for food there.
2016 July: a peaceful view ....
An excerpt from our shared spiritual reading:
From the Journal of John Woolman (1720 - 1772)
" In a time of sickness I was brought so near
the gates of death that I forgot my name.
Being desirous to know who I was,
I saw a mass of matter of a dull gloomy colour
between the south and the east,
and was told that this mass was human beings
in as great misery as they could be and live,
and that I was mixed with them, and that henceforth
I might not consider myself as a distinct or separate being....
I then heard a soft melodious voice,
more pure and harmonious than any I had heard before;
I believed it was the voice of an angel who spoke
to the other angels : the words were John Woolman is dead.
I was then carried in spirit to the mines
where poor oppressed people were digging
rich treasures for those called Christians,
and I heard them blaspheme the name of Christ,
at which I was grieved, for His name to me was precious.
I was then told that those who oppressed them were
said to be the followers of Christ, and they said among themselves,
If Christ directed them to use us in this sort, then Christ is a cruel tyrant.
All this time the song of the angels remained a mystery ...
until as I lay still for a time I at length felt a Divine power
prepare my mouth that I could speak, and I then said,
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ....
Then the mystery was opened and I perceived there was joy
in heaven over a sinner who had repented,
and that the language John Woolman is dead
meant no more than the death of my own will."
There are already signs of autumn in the beauty of our garden.
The birds no longer sing a dawn chorus but continue to feed their young.
May we show the same loving care for each other.