Thursday, April 30, 2020


she turns a corner on the path.
The giant warrior lies dead,
broken into a thousand pieces,
severed trunk, root wound still fresh,
sweet scented, bitter orange
bark grey, branches long barren

the storm proves the stronger foe,
roots too bruised to hold tall.
this was no swift heart attack
but a dragging death over decades.
nature’s cycle of cruel beauty.

unexpected sorrow fills her heart.
she kneels beside him,
warm hand on cold bark.
a blessing falls from her lips

fallen warrior, rest now
let the earth embrace you
let the wind whisper a last lullaby
let the sun kiss a gentle goodbye
let the rain rinse away all regret
in your passing let new life begin

hers is a moment of connection in
a world disconnected from nature
seeing and knowing too little

Monday, April 06, 2020

The Full Fat Word of God

It seems with the lock-down and the stay-at-home instructions that people are finding new ways to do business. This is true of the Loch Ness Country House Hotel on the outskirts of Inverness. Without any visitors to cater for they have turned their hand to producing food hampers.

I appreciate that the key workers are putting in long hours to keep the shelves stocked, but I have trailed around supermarkets, keeping my social distance, struggling to find the things I am looking for. I have to confess that some of these places give off an air of panic buying. The last time I was in one of them, I had this end-of-the-world-zombie-apocalypse feeling. I was piling things into a trolley that I didn’t want and didn’t need before getting a grip on myself and putting most of them back. I hung on the biscuits. This is not the end of the world, just a long pause in what is normal.

I decided to let the Loch Ness Country House Hotel do it for me. We were not up to the usual hamper size, but they started to put out half-size ones. I see, they have added cakes to their hampers now, but last week it was the essential supplies – fruit and vegetables, a selection of meat, bread, milk, fifteen eggs and a pack of four toilet rolls among other things. Being a hotel, and a luxury one at that, they had their suppliers, local produce and very fresh. I didn’t quibble on price. Yes, I could have got things cheaper on my own, but the quality of the goods is exceptional. My husband recommends the black pudding!

Emptying the box and packing things away in the cupboards, the fridge and the freezer, I noticed that nothing was low fat. The milk was whole milk. The bread was thick sliced. There were no any labels on the meat to tell me the fat percentages. Nothing looked particularly “low fat”. It was not my normal fare with all the labels carefully scrutinised and compared with similar products.

I once read an article in a magazine suggesting that we no longer enjoy our food. Everything comes with calories and calories come with guilt. We don’t eat for the love of eating. We eat because we have to eat, but we shave off as much fat and calories as we can. What we have on the plate, it’s not tasteless by any means, but it’s not rich either. There is just something missing.

This week, so far, with our hamper goodies, we really have been smacking lips. Everything we have cooked has been delicious. Lock down gives us time to cook proper meals and not phone out for a takeaway or fill the freezer with convenience meals. My husband has been working from home, so he’s not bringing home fish and chips or eating late at night.  I’m not joining him on the sofa for a small bowl of chips and curry sauce. I’d like to think that this will be mealtimes after everything returns to something more normal.

Physically, I’m eating well. I wonder, though, whether the low-fat, scraped-of-all-unnecessary-calories has made the jump to what I eat spiritually. Am I flourishing on the full fat word of God? I remember my Cyprus days with the Gospel Hall. They planted in me a love of the word of God, and a passion for digging deep for myself. I loved my quiet time notes, and my Sunday sermons, but I knew how to mine for treasure.

There is no doubting that with the stay-at-home rules currently in place, there a need to fill the time with something other than Netfix originals. We have the opportunity to be in the word, seeking the treasure. We shouldn’t have that blank expression when we are asked what God is saying to us. We are like those baby birds in the nest that the parent birds cannot always be there with a variety of bugs and worms. It’s time to fend, in the word of God arena, for ourselves. We are not abandoned but God’s teacher steps up to the mark, the Holy Spirit. Everything we need to know, He tells us. Now is that time to learn to listen. He knows what we need to flourish and, like the Son, that Good Shepherd leads us to be best pasture.

He dishes up the full fat word of God.