Category: Weather

What ails the wind

I offer you a rough and ready poem:

What ails the wind

What ails the wind thrums my soul, my ears buffeted red and raw
I regret not checking the roof when the sky was calm and dare not venture out now
Lest a tile or tree come crashing down to test my mortality
The howl and hum and whoosh and groan are artefacts of house and wall and wire and ground
The racing heart, the running step, the watering eyes and dribbling nose testify to the gale’s power
Now the breeze rises and falls while painting the house with rain and jabbing every crack in the walls with a gust that mocks the mortar
And all this sitting in the warm, glad to be indoors, contemplating a cup of tea
Imagining, not experiencing; remembering more than knowing.
I am not at sea bouncing on waves indifferent to my fate;
I do not trudge across civilised plains hoping for a welcome or at least a crumb of comfort
It is not my job to sweep up the leaves even to keep the trains running on time.
Is it enough just to spare a thought for those caught out in the wind and rain
or should we do something for them as well?

A haiku for 30th September 2015

melting Autumn sun

soft against the silver sky

nips at Summer’s heels

Showery intervals

A haiku:

a ragged grey sky
clouds scrunched like an unmade bed
soaked are field and coat

Sunlight dripping through the summer haze

Bright fingers drift through branches

Honey-like running off the comb

Dripping golden light from leaf to twig to bough to ground

Summer and autumn mingle there

On leaves not yet dry, nor truly green.

Heat has had its crescendo

Rain will reign again soon enough

Today’s muggy warmth will not last

but its sort-of-peace will do for now

Don’t let the grey clouds in the photos here put you off; it was a dry and comparatively warm day when we visited.

Open for the February half term school break, Kenilworth Castle was a relatively mud-free diversion for us. There were open spaces for running around, ruins to explore, buildings to visit, an Elizabethan garden and a café (at tourist prices for that cuppa, of course). We spent the middle portion of the day here plus travelling. A late start and home in plenty of time for tea suited us fine.

The photos may look a little dark but it was fairly cloudy – pretty much as you would expect during an English February, really. Still, the place was busy with families taking advantage of the half term and some children following the knights’ trail. I dare say that this would be a very nice place to visit during the summer.

The earliest parts of the castle date back to the 12th century and ownership has passed through various hands from King John, via the Earl of Leicester (sweetheart of Queen Elizabeth I, allegedly) and a few families later to the auspices of English Heritage. The gate house was lived in as recently as the 1930’s.

If you are exploring “Shakespeare Country”, or enjoy visiting historic sites generally, then I would include this somewhere on the itinerary if you’re in the Midlands.

The photos include a bird of prey we saw as we were leaving the grounds. We think it was a buzzard but we thought it ought to have been larger, in our opinion.

You might be surprised to learn that at the beginning of every January the earth is at its closest to the sun than at any other time of year. How come it is generally warmer six months later in the year, when we are furthest from the sun? It turns out that the tilt of the earth’s axis has a greater effect on our weather and climate. When it is Winter in Britain, the northern hemisphere is turned away from the sun and we get longer nights than days. In Summer, when our part of the world is turned more towards the sun, we benefit more from its heat and light.

Whether we feel hotter or colder has more to do with whether we are facing the sun (as in daytime) than with how close to the sun we are. Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, reaches over 400 degrees C on its daytime side but below –170 degrees on its night-time side even though it is about a third of the distance to the sun compared to the Earth. In other words, even though it is closer to the sun, Mercury’s night is colder than Earth’s.

As the seasons here progress through January and February, our part of the planet is turning more and more towards the sun. Gradually the days become longer and we might just start to believe that Spring is just around the corner.

I do not want to press the analogy too far, but I think that in our journey of life, our faith, can be experienced in a similar way. There is no physical measurement for how close we are to God, but our hearts are warmed and our minds are enlightened the more we turn towards him.

This idea of turning towards God is behind the word “repentance”. It means seeing and doing things differently by turning away from what is wrong and instead turning towards God. We include repentance in Baptisms (Christenings) when we are asked “Do you turn to Christ? (the perfect image of God)” and “Do you repent (turn away from) your sins?”

I want to suggest that when is seems that God has gone away, it might be that we are looking in the wrong direction. What is more, it may be that some of our darkest and coldest times in faith occur when we are closer to God than we think but, because we have turned away from him, we do not benefit from his presence as much as we might.

I cannot tell you what this looks like for you – we each have our own personal experience of life and of God. It may be that in times of grief we think God has turned away from us and we need the reassurance that God is near even if it does not feel like it at the time. It may be that we get caught up with being busy and we are so preoccupied with our daily lives, that we do not stop long enough to give God a second thought. What do you think? What are the times when you feel more turned away from God? What do you need to do about it?

I shared those thoughts in our Parish magazine and offer them to you for you consideration.

O Lord, let the light of your face shine on us. (Psalm 4 verse 6)

A double rainbow

I don’t know what Noah would have made of the double rainbow we saw the other day – and the photos really do not do it justice.

It was late afternoon/early evening, about half an hour or so before the sun was due to set and it had been tipping down with rain. Suddenly, one member of the family shouted out and we went to see what the fuss was about. There was a rainbow that stretched from horizon to horizon, a full arc that I could not fit in the view finder of the camera (I did try a panoramic view but lost the top of the bow it was that large). To cap it all, there was a double, not as bright but still clearly visible. As for the rest of the sky, it was grey with rain clouds overhead while, in the west, the sky was a glorious yellow around the sun.

All this lasted a few minutes with the bows fading even as I grabbed my camera and snapped away hopefully – between times of just enjoying the spectacle. The last picture seems to show some rays of light and dark emanating from the centre of the bow. Not sure if this is to do with the rainbow or just coincidental.

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Thinking of Noah and the rainbow, it says that the rainbow is a sign that God will not destroy the earth by way of a flood as described in that story. In my more depressing moments I can’t help wondering whether he would ever need to – we are perfectly capable of destroying the world ourselves. I hope it does not come to that. Whatever one’s opinion about climate change (and I personally go with the view that we are contributing to it) it behoves us to take care of the world that we have been entrusted with.

A prayer from “Common Worship”

Almighty God, give us reverence for all creation and respect for every person, that we may mirror your likeness in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Alternative Collects p 11)

Two sun dogs and a cloudbow

There are probably more accurate scientific terms for what we saw late September in Northamptonshire. Certainly you do not see these very often. You’ll have to forgive my fist in one of the pictures. It is there to block out the sun and protect the camera (and my eyes for that matter) so that we could have a photograph that showed both sun dogs in relation to the sun.

The cloudbow (if that is the correct name) was directly overhead and I’m afraid the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was like having a rainbow but no rain. For the record there were no nimbus clouds in the sky – pretty much all medium-height alto-stratus – or possibly high cirro-stratus but I’m not much cop at estimating heights and distances.

You had to be there.

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Oh! how I love, on a fair summer’s eve,
When streams of light pour down the golden west,
And on the balmy zephyrs tranquil rest
The silver clouds, far — far away to leave
All meaner thoughts, and take a sweet reprieve
From little cares; to find, with easy quest,
A fragrant wild, with Nature’s beauty drest,
And there into delight my soul deceive.

John Keats, 1795-1821 from “Sonnet: Oh! How I love, on a fair summer’s eve”


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