Lights in the darkness

 



I know it’s an old joke, in this pandemic, but it really is difficult for some of us. The days are all the same when it’s misty and murky, as it often is in December. Sometimes it is all over, and I am drawing the curtains again, when I have hardly registered that the day has begun.

How do you know what day it is? By what’s on TV? By the dustbin lorry driving down the lane? By when the milk is delivered?  I have just been talking to a friend on the phone – she sent me a card and have not sent her one. I have not sent any cards. That was our promise this year, we would give to charity instead. For every card we get, £1 goes to charity.

I rang my friend, who lives in Yorkshire, to thank her, she is shielding like me, and she said, “My son rings every weekday morning at 9am before he goes to work. But one day last week he didn’t ring.” She was so worried that she waited half an hour and then, in trepidation, rang him.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes why?” His voice sounded sleepy.

“You haven’t rung me and I was worried.”

“It’s Sunday morning, Mum, I’m having a lie in!”

This morning, when I was having a lie in, I heard the wise thrush singing. He was sitting on the very top of our conifer, like the fairy on a Christmas tree. And he really did sing his song twice, as Browning said that he does. I could hardly believe it.  Here was such a beautiful bubbling song, so early in the winter. It made today a quite different day, filled with hope and ‘careless rapture’, something that we have not had for some time.

Having no decorations and no cards on ribbons around the room makes our house quite dull when it is usually shining out. I know some of my neighbours are doing the same as us, but thankfully, the people who live just opposite have decorated their outside tree with coloured light bulbs.

What a relief it is to look out into the dark night of our hamlet and see these big bright baubles.

We were so thrilled with them that we got in the car and drove around to look at the streets and houses. The town was decorated, seemingly the same as last year, but rows of houses were black.

Then, occasionally, we came across a house that was lit up, gloriously, as if in defiance. There were flashing holly leaves, Father Christmases and reindeers. I wonder if, when they put up their lights, these people felt that ‘careless rapture’ of the thrush.

What day it is does not matter if there is delight.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star - With Vicky Turrell)



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