Sunday, 4 April 2010

Three Easter Eggs

As the six weeks of Lent flew quickly to Holy Week I've become aware of a yearning to be walking and to be with other pilgrims. I suppose it is a feeling akin to going on retreat. The Camino can be magnetic and I’ve been reading accounts of pilgrims on the trail right now with a certain feeling of jealousy. Whilst musing over which route I’d like to walk I’ve also been making my way through the Holy Week services to Easter. They are really an assault on the senses. The combination of words, music, and symbols create a journey from the depths of pathos to the elation of Easter. Could such a powerful story be told in any other way? That question got me thinking about similar thoughts on my first Camino. They came to me gradually as I walked through Spain and felt the freedom of the Camino, the satisfaction of arrival and the fulfilment of a hot bowl of soup in the companionship of other pilgrims. “How could you explain this?” was my question. I realised my own words were inadequate. They still are. So to go some way to explain what I feel this Easter I’ve painted three little Easter eggs for you. Here they are:

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry

On Sunrise - Robert Louis Stevenson from Prince Otto

Soon she struggled to a certain hill-top, and saw far before her the silent inflooding of the day. Out of the east it welled and whitened; the darkness trembled into light; and the stars were extinguished like the street lights of a human city. The whiteness brightened into silver, the silver warmed into gold, the gold kindled into pure and living fire; and the face of the east was burned with elemental scarlet. The day drew its first long breath, steady and chill; and for miles around the woods sighed and shivered. From 'Soliloquies of a Hermit' by Theodore Frances Powys.

In the old days I thought something wonderful would happen to me - now I believe that the most wonderful thing is that nothing wonderful happens. We are just as we are - nothing else - are we not wonderful enough? By only hearing the wind howl in the chimney, I am filled with all the harmony of music. By eating bread I am fed with the whole goodness and fullness of the earth. And when the silent mood comes, the calmness of immense seas and eternal spaces fills me...I know now that the things of greatest value can be had for the asking - that the centre of life is always near.Happy Easter 2010



  1. Happy Easter to you Johnnie.
    Beautiful quotes.

  2. John,

    Happy Easter too! And these Easter eggs won't give me indigestion as I savour them.


  3. Beautiful selections and observations, John. Thank you.

    Happy Easter!


  4. How interesting you should quote from 'Soliloquies Of A Hermit'. I have my own copy here on the shelf, but I've never come across anyone who's ever heard of it before until now!

  5. PS 'A Philosophy Of Solitude' by John Cowper Powys is also very good.

  6. Thank you all. I'll look up A Philosphy of Solitude - thanks SW. Ah will I ever have the courage to try being a hermit?

  7. I was in Midway, Kentucky, on Monday listening to our own dear Wendell Berry read a short story of his, and I purchased his book of poems called "A Timbered Choir."

    Patient as stars, they build in air
    Tier after tier a timbered choir,
    Stout beams upholding weightless grace
    Of song, a blessing on this place.