February 2020 has been the UK’s wettest February on record, and the fifth wettest calendar month since 1862! The group who set out on this pilgrim walk can certainly attest to that. We got pretty wet. But what a treat to be shown unfamiliar footpaths leading to familiar places! And how brilliant to now be able to plan to come back in the sunshine!
Rose Gillett, who led us on this walk, wrote a lovely account for March’s Parish Magazine:
Our newly-discovered Poet-in-Residence, Sandra Kelly, has a wonderful eye for spotting wild flowers in the hedgerow. It’s great to have someone in the group who can identify the flowers and help us to notice the signs of spring as they unfold. Sandra wrote another wonderful poem for the occasion and it’s a record not just of our trials and tribulations, but of the joyfulness and hopefulness of a wet walk in early spring:
Diary of the February Pilgrims
Trusting God is watching o'er us
As we set out on our way,
we, eight faithful pilgrims, struggle
'gainst the wind and rain today.
Yet we walk eagerly,
ever joyful, come what may.
From church grounds where snowdrops greet us
- tiny heads of purest white -
and daffodils along the pathside
help to make the morning bright.
On we go, determinedly,
despite the thickening clouds in sight!
Along the lanes where puddles cause us
to deviate our cautious steps,
we still trudge along undaunted,
even through mud's unknown depths.
And we see, all around,
signs of spring on drier ground.
Primroses and Alexanders,
Celandines and Speedwells, too;
Red dead-nettles, and sure signs
of fresh Dog's mercury peeping through.
Many a track, many a field
have some floral gem revealed.
Blessed with God's creation round us,
Passing all that can't be bought;
admiring all that once seemed lifeless
- beauty springing out of naught -
we must pray, thankfully,
for the joys along our way.
Though our footsteps oft may stumble
through long grass to squelchy bogs,
we ramble on, keen and resilient,
following the more nimble dogs;till we see, eventually,
road and pavement - luxury!
Blossoming buds along the hedgerows,
bright red berries on Butcher's broom;
waters streaming down the roadsides
- they will reach the sea quite soon.
We'll not roam far from home
- we check the time, it's almost noon.
Now we reach the Seaview coastline,
shingle beach and sandy shore;
rolling waves, and shells and seaweeds,
scattered boulders by the score.
We'll not stay here today
but wander on to Lily's door.
Once refreshed with chosen beverage,
faithful pilgrims stride along
to the church for picnic lunches and memories of times long gone.
Then once more, from church door,
we continue, on and on.
With roads and tracks and fields before us,
now with hopeful steps we tread
to the place we left that morning after thoughtful prayers were said.
Blest with love, from above,
we reach our goal - all safely led.
Jane Kelly: February 20th 2020