Sounds of some chirping birds greeted me in the morning. Peaking through the curtains the sun was beginning to show itself in its glory. What will this day hold? The weather report said that today will be the only nice day this weekend. Surely today of all days should be spent outside. There is a place that I was thinking about. A place that I pass daily and look out over as me morning train pulls away from the station or returns at the end of the day.
Good Friday is celebrated by Christians of most denominations as the day on which Jesus was crucified. It’s a day of fasting and a special service is performed in all the churches focusing on the events described in The Bible. This is why in almost all the western countries this weekend no work is performed and people are free to celebrate this or any other thing that they fancy. Many people take advantage of this time off to go somewhere and relax. The rail service is taking advantage of the reduced workload to perform essential works on the rail lines. Going north is out of the question this weekend.
In the Jewish faith this is the time of Passover. Again from the Old Testament it is the time when the Jews were in Egypt and were instructed to mark their door with blood and eat unleavened bread as all the first born sons died as the spirit came over Egypt. This allowed the people to flee as the pharaoh was mourning the loss of his son. There is more Easter falls around the time of the spring equinox and many of those traditions became incorporated into the traditions we hold today. Rabbits are a sign that spring is approaching. Their appearance at the end of winter signifies the new season. The egg is a symbol of renewal as they are where new life develops from.
One of my flatmates is quite loud. Everything he does is loud and messy. Bringing up the matter would be kind of counter productive. At the end of the month it is likely that both of me flatmates will be gone. On Good Friday in the morning he was having a conversation naturally his voice is loud too. It wasn’t loud enough to understand what he was talking about. I’m forcing myself to be less quiet than I am but my ingrained ninja skills continue to be expressed. One coffee and then another sometimes I wonder if he can hear me. He’s not a bad person… just what’s the word… Inconsiderate.
Putting all that aside what haunts me here is the feeling of being alone. It’s why I so look forward to the conversations I have. The ones I have with the people back on the West Coast will have to wait until later on in the day. For now, the immediate future it’s time to prepare. Since getting this thermos I’ve found myself using it more and there was a picture of myself sitting out there in that green space drinking a coffee enjoying the fresh air. In me morning scattered altered mind things took a bit longer to prepare. There is no rush however and this may be one of the effects of leisure. A closer inspection of the map shows that the entrance to the space lies somewhere by one of the super shops I frequent. That super shop brand used to be me go to place in London here however it isn’t quite as good. The path to the reserve follows the River Sow that runs through Stafford. It meanders through the city bending and curving its borders fixed within the confines of the city itself. It rises and falls and at one point when I first got here I thought it was going to burst its banks. I follow the path trodden by many who have walked this way before through the marshes that guard the entrance to the reserve.
Officially it is spring now but the vegetation still hasn’t gotten the message yet. It may take a while for the new season to begin its annual blossoming. There are a lot of reeds and grasses that still have their dried crispy color. Trees still have barren branches but they appear to be ready to release their leaves brim the buds that are bubbling to burst.
From the train this one structure caught my attention when I first started my time over here. From a distance it looks like some kind of checkpoint for the army or some kind of a defense bunker. Whenever I see it on my way back home I know that it’s almost time to get off the train. The same goes for those windmills that spin majestically in the distance creating power with each revolution. It was a beautiful day almost hot in the bright sunshine shining from above. Clouds calmly floated in the sky creating contrast against the blue blue sky.
Others had the same idea. This one couple of siblings were slow along the trail. I must have passed them a few times during my exploration of the area. To my surprise there are a number of different spots from which one can observe the wildlife found within this reserve. Nature doesn’t lend itself to giving you the perfect moment. One has to wait for that to happen. At one point when I finally got to the bunker I watched this pair of ducks feeding in the waters in which they floated. Each one took their turn and then one at a time. One of them kept watch as the other fed when the kids came close. Me eye strained from starring into the viewfinder as I waited for both of them to have their heads above water. My mind kept thinking of my other out there on the other side of the world still sleeping. Yet another metaphor for what I have in my life represented out there in the world. There is a deep correlation for what my mind sees out there and what it thinks about inside.
It’s been a long time since I’ve set foot inside a church on my own. I know what kind of service it’s going to be today. It’s a reading of the passion of Christ. In my mind out of curiosity I decided to attend this service today. I was out already and there is still time before I wanted to make my call to the west coast. The other reason is to kinda surprise my folks. In a weird way they need to be reassured that in some way I still have some faith. My faith in my opinion is really my own. What I believe is still under construction and understanding. It certainly doesn’t follow dogma or orthodoxy. They need some sort of reassurance. Besides I wonder how the whole ceremony differs from what I remember. Over time the way that services are celebrated has changed. It’s all owing to the fluid nature of orthodoxy.
To my surprise there are a few Catholic Churches in Stafford. I picked one based on how it looked on its website. I dropped my bag off at my place and had a bit of lunch before setting off to the service. This church was built in the late eighteen hundreds. It was sponsored by some wealthy patron who admired the monk who lived in a small chapel at this site. The church was spartan owing to it being Good Friday. All the icons and crosses were covered up by purple veils in a symbolic gesture. The congregation was multi ethnic with a large proportion of older folks. This day symbolizes sacrifice that God made for our salvation. This story echoes others found in antiquity that have only recently been rediscovered. It is a yearning by the people from all times for a time when they are free from suffering. Free from suffering. There is a belief that a messiah will come at the end of days to judge us and either lift us up to paradise of banish us to hell.
It’s important to note that all the three monotheistic western religions are intertwined in this belief. In their opinion this apocalypse will be the catharsis that will end the present age and usher in an everlasting peace. Some of the more extreme factions of these Faith’s are tempting fate hoping to bring this end of times as soon as possible. They interpret the signs that were written thousands of years ago to be happening now. This belief is skewed and it results in the tragedies that we have seen on the telly over the past twenty years or so. History writes about twenty or thirty year wars in the past. I can see how conflicts can last this long.
Coming home from the service I did feel at peace. The walk home to my place coursed along yet another route that I’ve never taken before. Slowly but surely I’m covering all the different parts of this city. It was just in time to speak with my boo. We had moments when we just stared into each other’s eyes playing a game accross the ocean through the interwebs. Nine months until X-Mas and roughly four until we hold each other again.