I woke up to BBC Breakfast News – and reports of inclement weather conditions up and down the country except in the South West. I was so relieved when I drew back the curtains; the forecast was clear and the roads to Okehampton from my direction were ice and snow free – although Dartmoor itself was white.
I had an important appointment to keep – to register my Father’s death at the Town Hall which is situated on the main crossroads in the heart of the town – and to collect the ‘green paper’ for the undertaker – which without – no funeral could take place Friday week. My sister Rosie and her family in Vienna had already booked and paid their fare – it was a very important appointment to keep. Even the weather was on GO.
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Okehampton was Dad’s favourite town in the west-country – where he’d done his weekly shop for years – followed by a gentle amble around beautiful Simmons Park beside the East Okement river. After registering his death – I walked up the Arcade to the park to do a morning lap in his memory. Over many years we must have lapped Simmons Park a thousand or more times together – and then with my boys – when they were younger. Okehampton was wide awake – people were all about the business of the day – the World doesn’t stop.
The day had an energy of its own – everything flowed – apart from my camera! I take it everywhere – even with me on this official day.
These are the photos. Each one hurriedly snapped because my camera kept frustratingly turning itself off; I’d neglected to charge it the night before! I offer no scientific explanation as to why I was suddenly able to turn it back on again – and then again – and squeeze just one more shot before the viewfinder turned black and the alarm went beep beep beep again – using up its last vestige of energy. I’d walk on a bit more and then I’d see another ‘memory’ I wanted to keep – so I pushed my luck again…
My faithful old camera did ‘flatline’ eventually. Here though – are the precious photos from Dad’s official day – the energy came from somewhere…
THE GATE OF THE YEAR by Minnie Louise Haskins
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.