Robert Pfeiffer gets ready for the sunny weather
It’s like a deep breath taken in anticipation of something wonderful. We look at the thinning days of work and school before the holidays are upon us. The morning light wakes us early, we walk or cycle to work, in the evening we sit with friends outside. Music festivals, street parties, races and regattas, theatre and concerts in the parks and BBQs after church with everyone lying in the grass at St Michael’s school (even if it rained...).
During those days (moments?) of brilliant sunshine, London can feel like the most beautiful city on the planet. The parks seem to be radiant with green and welcoming all. Of course the tube’s a sauna, but every morning we set out for another day benevolently clearing our memories of yesterday’s sweat.
Traffic seems to ease a little with the indigenous deserting town for holidays. In their stead visitors and tourists multiply. Then comes the long awaited day when many join the exodus out of the big city. The escape to the green pastures of Devon, the delights of rural France, the rolling hills of Tuscany and snow white beaches in far away places. In tents, in luxury hotels, in mobile homes and gîtes we find home away from home. Initially we wake up early, looking bewildered around the room (tent?) then with a relieved sigh sink back into our pillow (possibly cursing the absence of said pillow).
The first day whiled away on the beach or walking through stunning countryside seems like a surprise, an unexpected gift. “It’s lovely here” we say a couple of times during the day and just before we fall asleep. Soon the days, the counting of time, loses importance and then meaning. “Is it Wednesday today? Have we really been here for five days already?!” A weekend comes and goes and a Monday is just another day of rest and enjoyment. And amid this, often we notice the details of other people practising their faith. In visits to temples; in those moments at the bazaar when we hear the imam calling the faithful to prayer; on those Sundays when we see that procession to the local Catholic church. We pause for a moment, admire the spirituality we witness, perhaps think of our own faith—say a prayer?
The beauty of a place, the newness of things we see, the variety and the unexpected all seem to speak to us. We are recharging our batteries, we say, and yes, underneath the time of rest and the relaxing there is a quiet energy flowing back to us. As the evening flows into a summer’s night—with its chatter of people, the music, the waves, all those summer sounds—we catch a moment of inspiration. Something speaks to the heart. Something we think we will remember when the days are short again, the clouds hang heavy in the sky and we are holding tight onto our warm mug of tea.
We pause to cherish the sense of time standing still that moment in the summer night. And perhaps, softly and under our breath, we find ourselves thanking Jesus before we know it.