My eldest son has enjoyed his first half-term after starting school again…
He is 24 years old and a trainee teacher. He never did return home after University – the day I dropped him off at the halls of residence was the day he left home. The 25th of September 2011 was a scorcher – in more ways than one. Golden like the city of Bath itself – that in my mind is a place that’s forever bathed in Light – and Love. After a rushed good-bye – I ventured into the city centre with my youngest son – to look for ‘something’ I could hold onto – to remember the day. I didn’t know what I was looking for – but I didn’t find it in any of the shop windows.
Instead of a thing – I followed a ‘ting’ that I’d heard above the busy throng of Sunday shoppers. My souvenir of the day was a soundtrack played by these guys who were busking that day. Danny Cudd and Markus Johannson – together they are ‘Hang Massive’ – and my soundtrack of the day was – is – ‘Once Again’.
Play it once again – and again – and again…
And now – whenever I hear ‘ting ting’ – I’m immediately transported back to that far-off golden day – that’s still as intense in my mind as sunlight streaming through a Tulip tree.
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This half-term I have enjoyed a golden day out with my boys to Baggy Point on the North Devon Coast. An unhurried walk up to the Point from Croyde – passing some old Whale bones on the way – and back.
The whale bones were preserved at the side of the path by the Hyde family – for the benefit of ALL visitors. They gave the Bones – and Baggy Point – to the National Trust in 1939. I thought – cor wouldn’t I just love to have it in my bone collection!!!
Moving on – and to The Point – I saw something else in the grass that was acquirable – just – and not for my bone collection but my stone collection. A beautiful Witch’s Heart lying on the edge of a slope that dropped away to the sea…
My eldest son gallantly volunteered to pick it up for me – as it was placed a lot more precariously than it looks in this photo – a bit of a cliff hanger in fact!
I love the way the Witch’s Heart fits my hand – and my hand fits the Witch’s Heart.
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Walking Away – Cecil Day Lewis
It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away
Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.
That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.
I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.
(Written by Cecil Day Lewis for his eldest son – Sean.)