lundi, janvier 22, 2007

The best hour of the week

Yesterday four of us went tramping off into the Hertforshire countryside. Public footpaths and bridleways and rolling green hills bleeding into silver as the sun set. Puddles. Mud.

Because Sundays are for Pubs, we ended up at my favourite in the village: leaded windows, warm, buttery light, exposed beams and local ale on tap.

We entered hesitantly because our wellies were muddy and English Wellie Etiquette is ephemeral and we didn't want to screw it up and be forever known as "those fooking foreigners who tramped mud all over our carpets". The village is too small to take such risks.

The Irish barmaid told us to take off our wellies and put them on newspapers on the hearth of the fireplace. "Ahh sure, and it's a good thing to see wellies by the fire. It's the right place for them."

Sitting by a fire, drinking ale, in a pub, in one's stocking feet is the best use of a Sunday afternoon I have found yet.

dimanche, janvier 07, 2007

May grace and peace be with you...

... may your hearts be filled with joy.

No matter that God and I are on a hiatus. I still like benedictions. There are a lot of them swirling around at the end of December and I usually give them short shrift. They seem to be ironic, smug, cliches. All that peace and love and sanctity blaring out from speakers in frenzied shopping malls or in snowy, packed, parking lots.

I can't take their cloying happiness. Especially not this year. Escape came in too much sleep, mind numbing television (Q:how much csi can a person watch before her brains run out her ears? A: a lot), too much wine and the resultant rough mornings.

But it is January now. Everything is grey. And I can breathe more easily. So a benediction.

Personally, joy is too much to strive for. That'll take a while. But in the last three weeks there were moments of peace and more of grace. It's always grace, isn't it? And because I am not the sharpest needle in the haystack, it surprises me every time.

Laughing with le frere on the ferry deck. Wet cedar logs on a west coast beach that stained the tide pools crimson. Choosing my grandmother's diamonds, catching my earlobes sparkling in a shop window. Reeling in a fish. Walking Vancouver's downtown grid with splendid music in my ears-oh ipod, how did I ever live without you? Unexpected kindness. Being held in strong arms and resting my head on your sternum and ceasing-for five minutes-to be self sufficient.