A morning walk through Magdalen in the eye of the storm under a clear blue sky, with a twin prop glinting on its descent to the west, the Edinburgh train slowly snaking over the river, a dog walker in the distance and a thrush in song just feet away in the hawthorn, is shouting to me “Spring” . But It could be an Indian summer, that surprising, delightful experience when after the dark depressing days, of winter you are treated to an unseasonal and unpredicted period of unbounded joy and colour, freshness, stillness and the unrestrained chatter of life.
This has been my Indian summer, one that is hard to describe and maybe impossible to put into words so it has to be in part metaphor.
It is climbing up a steep and unrelenting slope with small shafts of light through the trees the short rests and diversions before once again getting the head down, up and up with no hint of a summit or even a false summit. You are fixed on the task, persistent and persevering. Then suddenly and surprisingly you come into a clearing, a plateau where the trees divide and the full strength of the sun breaks through and showers the ground and you in warmth and colour. The soft wind circles among the leaves and the undergrowth, with the smell and taste of the finest wine, the clearest water the unmistakable sense of life. You know it’s not the end of the journey, it’s not even the beginning of the end, there are dark places still to pass through, swamps to cross and a host of struggles to overcome but for now…..for now it is a time for refreshment and a simple basking in the wonder of it all.
It is liberation from the dead hand of all the isms the world can conjure and the lifting of a cloud that had silently and subtly distorted the vision, fudged the issues and hid the horizon.
It is being open in a new way to the Holy Spirit’s leading into better places.
It is a new interest and thirsting for God’s word. The Word that created all things came to us, to save, heal, restore and call us to be his children. The Word that we find within the pages of the Bible, that treasure trove of never-ending wisdom and delight. That Word that I want to hear first thing every morning, before the BBC, the Guardian, Al Jazeera or anything that the clever people might say. That Word, not fully grasped or yet fully understood, I want to meditate upon and align my thoughts and will with it, through the long hours and until the day ends.
It is a new passion for prayer, for conversation with a heavenly father and these special moments when it is shared with others.
It is a new delight and unfettered joy in the experience of being one small part of the family of believers, that crosses every continent, every culture and language, every strata of society.
It is a new spring in the step not dictated by outside change nor brought about by circumstance induced euphoria, but from the sheer relief of touching reality
It is a sense of being pulled gently but firmly back to where I should have been all along. It is a new desire to live a holy life.
So in the plethora of mixed metaphors, through the long dark winter, this has been the Indian summer of my life.