March 30, 2013

Good Friday



I added a third pair of (wool*) socks and a goose down vest** to my monk-visiting wardrobe today and was almost warm.  I noticed a lot of heavy winter coats in the audience but I’m still the only one with a blanket.

It’s halfway to Easter, the way I’m counting; I know it’s Holy Week and I think the special services began the beginning of the week too, but I began yesterday, with Maundy Thursday—partly out of funk, and known lack of stamina.   Out here in the ordinary-real world we had actual sunlight, which was rather shocking.***  Also I’m not used to driving to the monks in daylight—the main service today was at 3 pm—and was quite startled by how normal the village their abbey is on the edge of looks.  There should at least be a sentry tower and a portcullis somewhere, even if the portcullis has rusted open and the sentry moonlights in IT.

I’m a little less freaked today now that it’s finally here, although the monks’ reading of the Passion was a little too evocative—three of them, taking the different parts, all three of them together as the crowd shouting Crucify him!  Crucify him!, sharp and vivid as the Royal Shakespeare Company, yeep—and although he stays dead for another day.  Number two monk took the service today but the abbot gave the ‘homily’.  He stepped up to the lectern rubbing his hands together and said in opening, Yes, it is cold.†  And then went on to tell us briskly that it’s Good Friday because it’s good news and we are not allowed to mope.  Oh.  I was thinking that Easter always comes up some time in your first year and that shaky new Christians ought to be sent to the Shaky-New-Christian hermitage for the week, which is deep in the countryside and has no internet access and there are fabulous walks, an extensive library, and plenty of blankets on the beds.  Next year, when you’re stronger, then you can go through Easter.  Without moping.

I also went to St Margaret’s meditation service tonight, which was rather gentler:  just readings, and a few silent minutes between, for you to think your own thoughts.  I tried to concentrate on the ‘good news’ part.  And I am, God help me, at least going to turn up for the start of the monks’ paschal vigil tomorrow night.  It starts at 9 p.m. which I assume means it lasts at least three hours, till midnight?  What happens when I need a pee?  Speaking of ordinary reality.

* * *

* I have to be wearing at least two pairs of cotton socks to bear wool socks, since I’m of the AAAAUGH IT’S SCRATCHY TAKE IT AWAY school of wool wearers, which drastically limits my choice of footgear^ but wool is so beautifully warm.  I wear mostly wool cardis and pullovers by choice—over at least two cotton turtlenecks—because of the WARM.  It is a cruel fate to be cold-blooded and allergic to wool.  I’m just grateful that (apparently) my hands can bear to knit it.  I’ve been told by a number of people that it is worth investigating wool that hasn’t been through the standard commercial processes and chemical dyes.  First Cardi, which has been sitting unfinished in its plastic bag for months while I fail to engage with trying to figure out what the frell the DIAGRAMLESS pattern is unhelpfully on about, is made out of theoretically organic wool and friendly nontoxic dyes.  If I ever finish it I’ll experiment with wearing it over only one cotton t-shirt.^^^

^ And with feet the size of mine one does not go up a size very willingly, even to accommodate extra pairs of winter socks.+  Goliath?  Two sizes smaller than me.  Jolly Green Giant?  Three sizes smaller++.  Paul Bunyon?  Little fairy feet, compared to mine.

+ This is aside from the question of finding shoes bigger than my usual.  Goliath wore sandals.

++ Don’t let the curly leprechaun toes mislead you.

^^^ I’m about to rip out the entire back of something I was . . . making for someone else.  SIIIIIIIIIGH.  I should stick to leg warmers.  Meanwhile the yarn site I have dropped the most money on over the last two years is having a THIRTY percent off sale for favoured customers, which is to say those of us who have a bad case of Ooooh Shiny and no self control.  Get thee behind me Satan and take the internet with you.

** I got rid of nearly all my winter down-filled stuff when I moved over here.  What a silly person.^  Two winters ago—the same winter, I believe, when I discovered the wonders of Yaktrax—I bought myself a new down vest.  Now all I need is the quilted trousers and the battery-operated Radiator Boots.

^ The monks would have felt right at home in our old house.  But it was bought by people with money and probably has underfloor heating and an Aga in every room by now.

*** Insert video of chilly sweet pea seedlings doing a fandango

† My blanket and I were at the aisle end of the second row.  Some upstart was in my seat^ when I got there so I was farther forward than usual.  It was only after I’d sat down that it registered that there was no one in the front row.  Paaaaaanic.  There is sure to be something unknown and Eastery that the congregation will be expected to file forward and do and I won’t know how.

Let me put it this way:  I assume I will eventually run out of things to do wrong.  That Shaky-New-Christian hermitage can also have lessons on stuff you’re expected to know how to respond to.

^ Given that the monks, as monks will, have about eighty-seven+ prayer services every day she may be a regular attendee and think of it as her seat

+ You understand that this eighty-seven is like the ninety-two bells at Forza?  I am very slightly prone to exaggeration.


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