I have just been on Bere Island for a few days alone. The weather has been glorious. As we don’t say the Gloria at mass during Lent, the weather did it. The sunlight and sudden emergence of colour and the pre-Spring scents, some early daffodils, gentle winds, calm seas and wonderful continuous change in contrast. It’s hard to believe that storms have been battering the coast here for weeks before moving on to the rest of Europe. Or that there are people here painfully grieving and facing an empty chair, living with the absence of a partner of more than thirty years.
On the one hand you have to accept the glorious weather and breathe it in and get out and walk, however long it lasts, and let go of it when the rain rerturns tomorrow. We always know now how long it will last. Maybe it is easier to be in the moment and stay fully awake when you’re not looking at the forecast. On the other hand you have to let go of a companion, face the future without them and yet grow in the growing sense of their presence. On both hands, it is about detachment and a rediscovery of the giftedness of things, the flow of reality that we cannot freeze and defrost as we like.
Simple places like Bere Island – I hope you have yours and do not just tell other people to have them – are not escapes from reality. They are profound, fully human and elemental ways of living in the moment but with a sense of the glory of life that comprehends everything. In that awareness, no weather is bad. But when it is bad and you think ‘how could people put up with this’, you know the answer.
I heard that the meditation group that meets here every week, rain or shine, now has some children coming to it. May your Lent be being such a time for you.