Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Thresholds & Hinges


One of the four turning points of the year - Imbolc, St Brigid's day, Candlemas Eve: the first day of the spring quarter, the time of the birth of lambs and lactation of ewes  in (often) the coldest weather; the growing of the light. Here it's been a bright sunny day with a biting icy wind, and the Moon waxing to fullness, already high in the sky in the golden late-afternoon light.

St Brigid is patron of thresholds, of poets, healers and smiths among others - those who work with change and transformation. One of her emblems is the snowdrop which grows at the threshold of spring, often while the weather is still wintry. I recently watched a television programme about the great Gothic Revival architect A W N Pugin (1812-1852).  One of his passions, I discovered, was door hinges. He deplored the fact that modern hinges were (and are still) plain, utilitarian and hidden from view; the mediaeval-style hinges he designed were large and ornate - perfect for their task and things of beauty in their own right, worth seeing and admiring. I keep thinking of this as I try to celebrate the hinge-points of the year: though I find places and times of change uncomfortable there are often gifts hidden there.

Today I spent time with a good friend I hadn't seen for 25 years, since our student days, and who now lives on the other side of the world. We reminisced, and laughed at old jokes; we marvelled at how we've both changed and the long and convoluted journeys (literal and metaphorical) we've been on since we studied together. And at the deep connection and spark of friendship still undiminished! Imbolc/St Brigid's day felt like a good day for our meeting.

As Blessed John Henry Newman said, 'to grow is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.'  Blessings at this liminal time of growth and change!

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