Friday, March 21, 2008
On not planting parsley and other muddled thoughts...
Tradition has it that today is the day on which to plant parsley seed - perhaps because on this day alone the Devil is deemed to be powerless. It's slow to germinate too, so don't expect to see anything for a number of weeks; my father always told me this was because the seed is reputed to go to Hell and back 6 times. We may plant it for its flavour and decorative qualities but Parsley has associations with doom and death - which are not things you want to see garnishing a prawn sandwich.
However, bearing that in mind, I shall tempt fate and leave the packet unopened today. It's very windy here and I think a handful of seed would be blown quickly to the 4 corners of the kingdom of Trelystan. The forecast is poor for the weekend - but it is only the end of March after all.
And today is Good Friday - the saddest day in the Christian Calendar. I'll go along with that - although you'd have to search hard to find a holy bone in my body. Some years ago it was hard to find a shop open, shutters were down and doors firmly closed. It was most inconvenient, decidedly gloomy but quite appropriate. Members of the local Churches would process with solemnity along our main street - a faintly self-conscious pilgrimage - the sturdiest of their number had the job of toting a large and rugged cross. A stream of traffic backed up irritably at the rear.
A similar pilgrimage takes place here, over the course of the day, between the churches of a number of local parishes. It's quite a long and taxing walk, taking in some hilly terrain and today, I think, some inhospitable weather. It seems a good and purposeful thing to do. While I might not choose the prayers and services, the chance for quiet and contemplation would be welcome. A chance to 'go placidly amid the noise and haste'. (Although that always did remind me of something plodding, submissive and bovine.)
Otherwise things are much the same are they not? Sunday hours, a holiday weekend, TV specials and another retail opportunity.
I think what I am trying to say is this: whether one believes or not there is no denying that the barbarous events on a Jerusalem hillside 2 millennia ago have had a significant effect on culture and society in the western world. That must be worth thinking about. Quietly. Surely we can all manage without a visit to B & Q for 24 hours?