It was a sheer act of faith driving to Banburgh in the horrid, fuzzy rain. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that just there, just over that hill, around that corner, it looked like it would clear.
That, and the fact that I was due to see someone in Berwick first, so I was committed.
The drive proved worth it for the conversation alone –an unlikely blessing from an unlikely source. A reminder not to assume you know what someone is like just because of a few short meetings, and strongly differing views. And proof once again that Fr Kevin speaks with the wisdom of God. ( ‘now, don’t dismiss this out of hand. I think you should go talk with…’)
But then, the sun came out. Truly and gloriously Spring.
Banburgh is never tame. It was warm and bright and bursting with joy. But the wind was fierce, and the sand blew like glass. All the better really: it meant that everyone, absolutely everyone, who stayed on the beach was utterly mad. Like a flock of terns, we spun seaward in a continual flow as the sand rose, and flew in our face, and settled like thorns in our hair.
Wind enough to sing safely, and my old totem, Rutter’s Requiem, came welling up:
my soul fleeth unto the Lord; before the morning watch I say; before the morning watch.
O Israel trust in the Lord.
In the Lord there is plenteous redemption.
For he shall redeem Israel from all her sins. all her sins.
I played in the water and took pictures and kept trying to get my hair to stay back. But mostly, I just drew in the joy of it.
Then, the sandstorms began. Oh, it had been blowing before — but suddenly, the dunes wanted to dance like the waves, and rose up on the wind. I was in the water, walking towards a couple of equally mad waders. And they were radiant. And I realised that I was smiling as much as they were. That, and that we were all being lacerated with sand, and it was utterly ridiculous to be so very happy.
But there we were.
And then, the laughter began.
Make of it what you will, dear reader, but I laughed and laughed and laughed, and it was blessed.
And then, I found a sheltered spot in the dunes and lay down and stared at an utterly still sky, far above the swirling sands. A gull looped over me, and another. And I lay there a good long while.
By then, Rutter had yielded to a song I love more for he memory it stirs that for it’s intrinsic value — memories of Blessed Melville of St Andrews, still singing the tenor line in his 80′s…
… which, according to his abundant mercy,
hath begotten us again unto a lively hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Later, I drove home to
Sing (sing we). Sing we merrily.
Unto Go -o -o -o -o -o -o … d our strenght.
Make a cheerful noi -o -o -o -o -o… ise.
and I didn’t even worry about the bad language.
A glorious, life giving day.