MY FATHER has a small square Instamatic photograph he made of me when I was a boy of 5 or 6, just waking up, in a white ridge tent, pitched on the side of Lake Bala in North Wales. I’d gone to sleep dreaming about my first angling success, having landed the tiniest tiddler you ever saw, the night before. Pride and delight was mixed, poignantly and paradoxically, by my sadness at the death of the little chap. So my patient Dad provided a small matchbox into which the little fish was reverently placed before I presided solemnly over my first burial.
I must have slept deeply and well. I remember now the slight chill, and the scent of canvas, a small camping stove, sausages, a boiling kettle. But even then I was never at my sharpest in the early mornings. Colours melded, waking encountered mist and a measure of reluctance. “Wake up, son. Rise and shine. It’s breakfast time.” And Dad’s photo captured the half-awake moment when the night became light and – through canvas and my own mind’s mist – boyish delight and colour glowed, stretching, reaching, like the spectrum in this painting.
EASTER HOLIDAYS, I suppose rather obviously, occasion a procession of thoughts about resurrection, about new life and the way it arises and surprises – leaping out of roundedness and edginess and colour. Holidays become holy days and the art and craft of Life come much more clearly – and frequently – into focus. As the lovely hymn has it: “Colours of day dawn into the mind, the sun has come up, the night is behind.”
Easter’s wonderful, and it’s great that Easter Sunday stretches onwards into Eastertide. Resurrection shapes and moulds me, calling me both inwards and upwards, downwards, outwards and sideways, beckoning me into fuller, freer use of the great gift of imagination, and into the times and places of rich and iridescent colour, in contemplation and in meditation, in people and in prayer, in books and in art, in hymnody and psalmody, in human creativity, in food and drink, in love and laughter, in freshly laundered soft cotton clothes, in divinely fashioned lakes and trees and sky and flowers. Easter reaches me, touches me, heals me; the Risen Jesus models for me a person possessed of both roundedness and edge, a person who loves enough and is quietened often enough to make of every day a holy day. I’ll try to be a more observant disciple.