I cannot describe how wonderful it is that spring is here. I have more energy, more passion, more hope. I read somewhere once that English summers are the best, and unique, and I’m beginning to get a sense of that. I think it’s possibly because of the contrast with the oh so bleak winter. Bleak! The perfect word for an English winter. Good grief it was horrid!
The Etymology of Glory
I took a day trip to Bath and Stonehenge. I was hoping for a rowdy bus full of friendly strangers my age who would make me feel young again. Instead I got a handful of old-ish couples and a quiet family who stuck to themselves. The one upside (well, two): This guy’s eyebrows. I was fascinated by them and every time I looked at him I just wanted to giggle!
Stonehenge was, of course, magnificent. Sitting in the sun, staring at a bunch of big old rocks. To be honest, I think I enjoyed the sun more than the rocks. But for once, the history of the place actually captured my attention. History and I have a tenuous relationship. I like the idea of knowing how people lived in the past, but I’m really just not that interested in hearing about it. We like the idea of being friends, but when we spend time together, we’re mostly bored and thinking of other things. What I liked most was the fascination of the druids with Stonehenge. I think it’s beautiful that a group of people have laid claim to this exquisite landmark of mystery despite all scientific evidence showing that their ancestors actually had nothing to do with it. (Weird, though, I imagine if it were Christians claiming it, or another ‘mainstream’ religion, I’d be less tolerant.) I just like that everyone is so captivated by these big rocks, and that they’ve made this incredible culture of mystery, wonder and awe around them. It makes me feel like there might still be magic in the world.
Anyway, due to the lack of companionable company, I stared out the window at the English countryside (and really, the word ‘countryside’ has such English connotations, don’t you think? Like seaside. I’d never use the word seaside in New Zealand; but here, it’s like a magic password to the ocean). It rolled, as countryside is expected to do. It undulated across the distances, full of greens and so peaceful, and the sun gazed on the land with warmth and the sky was that bright blue of childhood-days-lying-on-the-trampoline-and-bathing-in-the-sky. I tried to think of a word for it, and all I could come up with was glorious, which for a while I thought was perfect, but the more I though about it, the less I liked it. The religious connotation was too much. It was like, in calling the day glorious, I was deferring to this higher being called God. And well, me and the idea of a god make each other angry, so let’s not go there.
I love language, and I resent religion, so it frustrates me that so much of what I love is based on what I resent. How did it come to this? The world around me is so beautiful. Incredible even. As in, it’s not credible that it could just be, so some guy called God gets pulled into the picture and is given the credit? Awesome. </sarcasm>
Awesome – I use this word all the time. Glorious – this season makes me want to use this word more and more. These and so many others we use are steeped in religious meaning. I know about language shift and all that, but it frustrates me that my whole society and the only language I can communicate properly in is based on something I whole-heartedly disagree with. Would so many little girls be called Grace if their parents really thought about the word? I like to think not. But then, who really thinks about words? People who cling to the word gay as happy are old fashioned. Using words according to their original meanings leads to confusion. Hardly anyone uses the word jealous correctly. I want to. I want to know the proper meanings of words, and use them as they are meant to be used. For some reason, I like to; it makes me happy. And yes, I judge people who don’t use their language in the way I would, yet my own use of English is hardly without errors. I just think it’s that something magical about words, and repulsive (to me) about religion, and Christianity in particular, that makes me unhappy when the two combine in my everyday life without me even realising it.
For a long time, I’ve been fascinated by religious language. I’m drawn to the meaning of the individual words, the sound of them together, the hidden mysteries inside them, even as I reject their message. That psalm about the Lord being my rock and refuge and strength. I pass a church sometimes, when I go walking, which has that written on a billboard outside. It sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? Even if you feel that the idea of a person’s strength coming from a deity is preposterous, it’s still beautiful, isn’t it? There’s something about the rhythms of religious language that is appealing. The poetry… I have been asked before, “How can you believe in poetry and not in God?”
It won’t stand still
I’m not ready for the rest of my life. Can’t it be spring forever? The crocuses were here for such a fleeting time. The daffodils have been and gone. Even the blossom, so recently coating the trees and grass in sweet, pink snow, has shrivelled up and blown away (I watched Children of a Lesser God last night).
April the 10th was the 100th day of the year, and we celebrated the second year of the WAGGGS centenary with the word grow in mind. I learned how to prune a rose bush, and that this is the wrong time of year for it, and I worked outside in the sun with other people.
The longer I stay at this job, the more certain I become that I was not made to be in an office. I cannot sit at a computer all day. This is not my job. Not the job for me. What is? Who knows? But now I know: not this. I love Guiding and I love my Pax Lodge family, but I can’t stay. There has to be an adventure out there for me. (I also watched Into the Wild last night. It made me think of Taylor, and of adventure and wide open spaces. It made me want to get out of the city. There is still so much to explore.)
I keep making excuses for not applying for jobs, but to be honest, I’m not even looking for jobs. I want one. I need one. But I’m procrastinating. I want to write more, teach more, see more, live more. But yesterday I sat in my room and watched movies all day.
will always be the second home of my heart. I was there again recently, this time on a work trip (wine, friendship, passion for Scouting and Guiding, a house by a river in a hamlet in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by green and filled with good people – best work trip ever), and I really, really like it there. I want to work more with the Eurotransit Network. I want to be more involved in my life and my passions. I’m going out to enjoy the sunshine today. Finding a job can wait for another day. I’m not really jobless (oh, and homeless, too) until July. It’s only May.