Leaves fall from the trees in the forests of our hearts
On Pentecost Sunday Daphne and I went to worship at St Mary the Virgin Woodstock. Our going there was decided for us when a woman stopped her car outside my door and said: “Fr Bob, you must come to St Mary’s tomorrow as we are celebrating 160 years and the Archbishop is coming!”
We do go there from time to time. That was an invitation indeed!
St Mary’s is a very beautiful sandstone church facing the once notorious Woodstock station. For many years St Mary’s survived in a very run down area of Woodstock. Now it finds itself in a very middle-class area hugged by a business area called The Junction and some vast upmarket high rise apartments with eating houses and trendy shops. The original people who lived in the area are being displaced and fighting for a place in Woodstock.
The inside of the church was beautifully decorated with the colours of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in tongues of flame on the disciples. The rood screen above the sanctuary was draped with a rose-red silky cloth. It was a beautiful service and we were inspired by the warmth and passion that redness invokes in colour, word and sacrament. And it was our birthdays and we were blessed by the gathering!
My wife Daphne celebrated her 70th birthday and there was so much to give thanks for. We have just lived through Autumn and the colours around us have been more of burnt umber and sienna, the fire-red browns of the season. In honour of our journey and friendship I dedicated this poem to her.
The rings of our Love
For Daphne on turning 70
The leaves are falling from the trees
In the forests of our hearts
Many seasons of hope have come, have gone
from that first moment of I see you
how we limped in our blushing
then swam towards each other
So much yellow blossom for us
as like trees we leant toward each other
Giving our light, our shade.
How could I tell of the many vistas,
the dimensions of our forests
as we discovered all that was new
and strange within ourselves
how we laboured with the bark
that had to be shed, and still do!
There were the distances, the mists swirling,
the chasms of mulch too!
But we followed the crumps we left
to the doors of our healing
This is love
And it has found us,
as leaves fall from the trees
In the forest of our hearts.