PRELUDE TO AUGUST
During the last two days of July the weather had been uncertain.
Sunshine and rain alternated on Sunday,
with a sudden unexpected downpour towards evening.
I went out looking for Brunie during this heavy rainfall,
sheltering under an umbrella,
but I was nonetheless soaked to the skin.
There was no sign of cat Brunie.
Going indoors, I vested myself in a mackintosh
and put on my garden shoes.
The rain had abated somewhat
when Brunie emerged from her hiding place.
Her fur was not very wet as the top layer of fur
serves as a barrier, rather like a raincoat.
The same could not be said of my clothes !
Most of them had to go into the tumble dryer
for an hour ... while my sandals dried close to the boiler...
Tuesday 1st August
The herring gulls are coming later for food,
so I am not awoken by their raucous cries.
One of them comes very close to me
when I scatter the broken bread,
watching me with a side-ways glance.
The moulting black-headed gulls keep their distance.
No sooner had I fed the birds than it began to rain....AGAIN !
Our apple-trees are already full of fruit,
rather earlier than usual.
I asked Dave, our gardener, to cut down
the wonderfully wild areas
around the trees, which he did.
Now we can see the fruit, and the magpies
can search for possible food amid the cut grass.
The rest of the meadow remains wild and free.
A shield-bug rescued from Brunies water bowl
It is now early afternoon and the rain
falls steadily on our lovely garden.
Dave worked quietly and thoughtfully this morning
among the flower-beds, weeding where necessary.
I was able to carry the shield-bug outside
before the rain began, and watched it hasten up
a flower-stalk and disappear.
The rain started falling steadily at the end of the morning.
By that time Brunie and I had come in from the garden.
On our return journey I had examined the fig tree
nearest the ramp and discovered much ripe fruit.
Some was picked, washed and eaten
by Sister Monica and I. We are the only nuns
who have lived in countries where fig trees flourish
and so we really appreciate the ripe figs !
At our optional meetings before Vespers
we have been reading THE MILLERS TALE
And Other Parables by Margaret Silf.
The Introduction begins thus:
The Word of God in sacred scripture
has two sisters - an older one and a younger sister.
The older sister is older than the hills.
She is the created world in which we live
and move have our being.
The younger sister is as young as this morning.
She is our own personal,
everyday experience of life as we are
living in the here and now.
The following text comes from the back cover of the book.
Today, no less then in Jesus day,
everyday incidents can show us
what the Kingdom of God is like ....
ordinary experience reveals shafts of Gods mystery,
tracing creations story,
from original blessing, through brokenness and restoration...
We celebrated the Assumption of Our Lady today.
The basic narrative comes from a vision in
The Book of Revelation, chapter 12.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven:
a woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was pregnant, and in labour,
crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth.
Then a second sign appeared in the sky:
there was a huge red dragon with seven heads
and ten horns , and each of the seven heads
crowned with a coronet.
Its tail swept a third of the stars
from the sky and hurled them to the ground,
and the dragon stopped in front of the woman
as she was at the point of giving birth,
so that he could eat the child as soon as it was born.
The woman was delivered of a boy ....
and the child was taken straight to God and to his throne,
while the woman escaped into the desert,
where God had prepared a place for her
to be looked after for 1200 and 60 days....
A footnote in the New Jerusalem Bible of 1985
links this vision with the Book of Genesis.
We think that the text may have been influenced by the contemporary
situation in Rome at the time, and thus had a political slant.
Purple Clematis - 15th August 2017
The seasons seem to have changed.
August is full of April showers,
which are accompanied by restless wind.
Autumn toadstools are emerging amid the grass.
Some apples are already edible it seems,
while blackberries are glowing with light
in every little segment.
The damsons in an adjacent garden
are partly sweet and partly sour ....
perhaps somewhat like us !
The work on our cloister - that is repair and decorating -
has now been completed.
All the pictures have been put in their proper places,
and the cleaning of the floor and dusting has commenced.
We have always been fortunate with our
kind builders and painters and remember them
Later today the many potted plants will be
restored there - and watered !
Cyclamen growing in our garden
We have a had a mini-heat wave recently.
Brunie has spent the hot afternoons
in the shade of her chosen bushes -
not hiding like Adam and Eve -
but simply resting in that cooler place.
She usually ventures forth when I call her.
The above photograph comes from that area.
I would like to conclude the Month of August
with another quotation from
The Millers Tale by Margaret Silf
from the section called The Song of the Wheat.
My waking was out of a deep sleeping,
deeper than memory, more distant than hope.
An impulse of love shocked me into life.
A shaft of warmth dissolved me into being.
There was a birth struggle.
My living energy was surrounded
by the clay of the fields, wet with winter, and cold.
No easy yielding, but a hard coming to be.
Yet the outcome of the struggle was never in doubt,
for I knew that life was on my side.
I could feel it in every fibre of my being.