The weather has been lovely today, really warm and sunny. The forecast for tomorrow is vile....60mph gales and heavy rain. Definitely autumn !
There has been a pair of blue tits flying round the garden - I`m not sure what they would be called in the US, but they are tiny little birds, very pretty, blue, yellow and black in colour. As soon as my Robin comes back to the garden, I will know that winter is on its way.
I don`t know about the rest of you, but I find it so hard to get up at 07.00 when it is still pitch-black outside. It seems utterly unnatural to have to get up when even the birds are sensibly still asleep till just before sun-rise.
I think my body clock is primed for rise at dawn, sleep at dusk, and it sticks to it resolutely, regardless of what convention, timetable or the clock might dictate.
Sometimes I yearn for a simpler life, more in tune with the cycles of nature. Unfortunately, such times went hand in hand with disease, ill-health, poverty and hardship, with death as an everpresent reality, not a distant spectre to be feared as it is now.
As I trace my family history, I uncover many deaths of young adults and small children, which would have been easily prevented with access to modern health care. Even my grandmother vividly remembered the smallpox outbreaks in Wales, and the long queues of people waiting to be vaccinated in the 1940s.
Everyone knew families who had been recently touched by death. Most people had seen at least one dead person whilst they were still young themselves.
The first dead person I saw was my father, in a chapel of rest the night before his funeral. I was 25. He was 58.
He looked peaceful. It wasn`t scary.
The second was my grandmother, who died suddenly, and I saw her at home before she was taken to the hospital for a post-mortem.
She looked scared and shocked.
To this day I wonder if it was due to the pain of the second heart attack which killed her, or whether it was something she saw, or just fear of death. It wasn`t scary as such, but I felt distressed for her.
What I fear is a sudden death, with no time to make my confession, to receive the Holy Mysteries, to be anointed and to say goodbye to my loved ones.
I don`t fear growing old or ugly or fat.
I *do* fear not having time to repent.