Easter was a deeply reflective time – more so than other years, as the aftermath of the pandemic leaves the diary emptier than before. There is resistance and discomfort to being alone with God at a time when the town is full of tourists and chocolate eggs and bunnies fill shop windows. I missed my Grandparents who immersed themselves in the Easter story – the sadness, the intensity and then the hope and joy of Resurrection Day. But there was presence in their absence. An Aunty (aunt Sally for those who know her!) sent me some rare writing from my Grandfather’s own newsletter on the diminishing value of the Hot Cross bun! I didn’t even know he wrote a newsletter.
For most of March I was unwell and missed out on a busy period of work. Yet what felt like a setback, has, on reflection, been a blessing; from slowing down, to budget management and new insights into where the body-mind-spirit needed to heal. My recovery luckily coincided with blissfully warm weather, and part of my recuperation was sitting under a great oak tree at Croft Castle, where I witnessed a large flock of sheep being herded into the field. What a sight to behold. I was reminded of the Psalm ‘The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want, He restores my soul” – a psalm of comfort and a testament to God’s goodness in the midst of every circumstance.
Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her journal, “I never saw Daffodils so beautiful, they grew among the mossy stones about and about them/ some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake.”
“The word love is most often defined as a noun, yet we would all love better if we used it as a verb.” writes Bell Hooks in her book ‘All about Love.’ Concerned not only with love as romance and desire, but also a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive and healing for our nation, Hooks talks about how our power to love is much greater than we think, and draws attention to the barriers to love and lovelessness that exists in our society. This book, along with Marianne Williamson’s ‘Return to Love’, which Hooks refers to, are beautiful bibles of love.
Thank you to everyone who kindly donated to Shelter for our Christmas song release. I’m grateful that I had a wonderful Christmas in Wales with my family, and I’m filled with hope, at the cusp of the New Year, for a happier, healthier year ahead for all.
I bring to you a new song, born of an experience a year ago today on Christmas night when I held my niece, Ffion, (welsh for foxglove!) and watched her sleep, with the profound feeling this moment was a gift from above. I felt so much love for her, I stayed awake the whole night and watched her sleep. The experience was intensified by the fact it was Christmas Night, and my mind cast to the nativity story.
As I was writing a Christmas song in the church this week, the star of Advent was being hoisted up into the tower, ready to be lit as a symbol of commemoration for the coming of Christ into the world. A large old key dangled from a long piece of string from the ceiling of the church, before a bright yellow star was raised up into the cloisters by the hands of a local church warden standing at the top of the 150 foot tower.
I’m very excited to announce that I have a brand new DVD available today to pre-order in time to arrive for Christmas! The DVD includes footage of 13 songs played LIVE at St Laurence’s Church, Ludlow, in July, as part of the Fringe festival, my first concert back after 18 months.
Piglet was a very small animal. For this reason he was able to squeeze out of tight situations. Once when Owl’s house fell down, though there was a heavy branch across the door and the only way out was through the letterbox, Piglet could escape.
In Yarpole, a small nearby village, I found optimism in the form of an elderly lady with a brightly coloured Snoopy pouch with the words in bold “let the good times roll.” She told me she carried it with her during the pandemic like a mantra, a good luck charm, a reminder that despite all that’s wrong in the world, there’s no use in a cup half empty.