Friday, November 11, 2011

The Eleventh Hour

Just back from a break in Devon with a dear friend who really knows how to celebrate in a deep way, with generosity of self in equal measure with books, good and simple food and drink in moderation, and walks. We began with a village bonfire on Guy Fawkes—a bonfire as big as a house! It was on top of a high hill and could be seen for miles, and was followed by fireworks. A great feeling of community, and a perfect night for such an event with a few stars poking through scraps of cloud hastening on their secret missions under a waxing moon.

We were in the part of Devon where the hills are giant green pillows cross-hatched with hedgerows and stone walls, where the coombes shelter fast-flowing streams and woodland. This time of year the hedges are being trimmed, and some of the lanes are bordered by clipped walls fifteen feet high. Mud everywhere, sometimes hubcap deep; mist; damp leaves under foot; the bracken on Exmoor wetly black, having been burned off earlier in the year; stubble fields; pheasant gaudy in the slanting light; end of the apple harvest, perfume of fermenting cider saturating the air.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

* * *

And today: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of—once in a century—the eleventh year.

I happened to be in town and ducked into a church for the two-minute silence. There were some oldies there, purposeful in their waiting. But the stillness was shattered by a cleric appearing at the lectern to announce with gentle officiousness, as if no one there could have had the slightest notion, that silence would be kept. When will these people learn to shut up???!!!

I left, and stood in the churchyard. Much better to be out in the hurly burly. It was deeply moving to see stillness take hold of the bustling shoppers, communicated without words, one by one, until everyone was motionless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Devon - sublime
Remembrance - very moving

11:34 am, November 12, 2011  

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