The holidays are over, the older boys are back in school and the days are feeling very autumnal with the air crisp early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Here, Down Under, the seasons are out of step with the traditional rituals of the Northern Hemisphere and, at the moment, it would feel unnatural to bounce around like a spring lamb and throw open the windows and doors. Now that Daylight Savings time has finished, the days are definitely drawing-in and many of our trees are vibrant in their coloured clothes.
We’ve decided to make this last week in April an important one in our home. It began last year in the shadow of three family/friend deaths, the Christchurch earthquake and the Pipe River Mining disaster. The last week of April for us is All Hallows. For the week, we have a memorial branch, with no leaves, on our season table. On the twigs of that branch we hang memorial cards for all of those who have touched our lives and died.
Yesterday, the two older boys carved pumpkins (from our own garden!) and delighted that it was dark enough for them to turn out the lights during dinner-time and watch the eerie glow from those pumpkin people’s eyes. (The lights came on again, so we didn’t have to deal with sliced fingers mixed with the meal!) We’ll keep them on the table for the week and probably have adventures with them each evening.
On Tuesday the older boys will be collected by their grandparents from the school bus, spend the night with them and then attend dawn service for ANZAC early on Wednesday. I doubt there is anything more poignant for a memorial service than standing in silence and hearing the last post as the sun is rising… http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/sound/last-post-anzac-day
In the spirit of the week, I leave with you with Desiderata:
Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their own story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
Have a reflective week.