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Pilgrim, priest and ponderer. European living in North East England. Retired parish priest, theological educator, cathedral precentor and dean.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Seasons of Durham Life: a monthly blog

The seasons of the year are like tides that ebb and flow. We experience them as peoples and societies, as churches, as local communities, and in our personal lives as men, women and children. To change the metaphor, each time of year has its own distinctive colour, its own native accent.

No two months are alike. The turning of the seasons with their solstices and equinoxes, the public calendar of holidays, celebrations and commemorations, the liturgical cycles of feasts and fasts of every faith, our own personal and family anniversaries: all these go into the rich and complex colouring that makes up the year.

I’ve been thinking about this during the autumn. Recovering from surgery in October, I have had time to take gentle walks around Durham’s river banks. To me they have never looked lovelier than this autumn. Perhaps that’s simply because in convalescence I have had to walk slowly, so I have noticed them, watched the leaves turn from green to gold to brown, then fall and return to the earth in coppery piles underneath the trees that gave them birth.

I thought I'd blog on this unending variety show of the changing seasons. To anchor it in a particular place and community, I’m going to try to reflect the distinctiveness of each month in Durham Cathedral starting with October. Maybe it will shed a little light on what goes on in cathedrals from one month to the next, indeed, something of what a jobbing dean gets up to. This isn’t stuff that tends to feature in my blog  - I almost said because of its sheer ordinariness. But that’s precisely the point: it’s in the ordinary as much as the unusual or spectacular that we see, and begin to understand.

So you may like to read on to the next post on this blog. This first instalment is a belated reflection on October. November will follow soon.

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