December Reflections 3: best day of 2020

Ladybird on rose leaf

It would probably be cheating to say ‘Sunday’, wouldn’t it?

I remember one day in March, standing on Clifton Suspension Bridge with two of my friends, looking out over the gorge, feeling intensely aware of all the strata of my own past, intensely uncertain of the future, with empty air under the bridge under my feet, feeling faithfully supported.

That one was a Sunday.

And I remember one morning in late July, having been blessed with a visit to the Isle of Wight and my family, revisiting all my favourite spots around Ventnor, spotting lizards, walking the dinosaur labyrinth, drinking coffee on the seafront.

That one wasn’t a Sunday.

But it’s the cumulative effect of those quiet Sunday afternoons at home that feels both the loveliest and the most characteristic of 2020. Sunday afternoons, with a stack of books and a folding chair and the contained space of the garden; the sound of a neighbour’s cockerel; the traffic not too obnoxious; bees and butterflies.

I had to go back through my diary to find the one I was thinking of specifically: 12 July. Earlier in the day, after church, I’d taken my bike out into the fens to the west, climbed the nearest hill and kept going under big fenland sky.

Huge pearly grey-white clouds against a blue sky, over a dark brown ploughed field

And after a shower and lunch I took my chair and my books out into the garden, and sat and read a few lines at a time, and watched the ladybirds crawling over the rose leaves and whizzing around the place in tiny red blurs, and much higher, white birds soaring, and, higher still, gliders circling, winking in and out of sight.

Sunday afternoon.

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