Dale grew up in Bryn Athyn. She moved to England as a young bride with her British husband. They raised their four children in the Cotswold village where they’ve lived for over 40 years. Dale fulfilled her childhood ambition to be a wife and mother, and when she finally discovered what else she wanted to be ‘when she grew up’, she spent ten years as a freelance proofreader. In retirement, she enjoys being a grandma, being involved in her community, and helping the church in the UK.
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Queen Elizabeth II reigned as the British monarch for just over 70 years, from 1952 until her death in 2022. She was ‘my’ Queen once I moved to England as a bride.
Britain is known for its polished rituals of pomp and circumstance – Trooping the Colour for the monarch’s birthday, changing guards at Buckingham Palace (cf. A.A.Milne’s poem), royal weddings, royal funerals – and coronations. The Queen’s oldest son, now known as King Charles III, got his big turn in the spotlight on a rainy 6 May 2023. His mother’s coronation was the first ever to be televised; Charles’ coronation was watched online in countries around the world – maybe you watched it. It was definitely a religious ceremony, a service of worship with holy communion and a coronation. Its traditional rituals, garments and accompanying regalia – orb, scepters, jewel-encrusted swords of justice and of mercy, historic crowns – are full of symbolism, and the service was full of solemn oaths, prayers and declarations. “I come not to be served, but to serve,” vowed Charles at the start of the ceremony.
Last October, we spent two weeks travelling in the deserts of Utah and Colorado. I wrote this piece as a response to camping and hiking in that dry, dry terrain.
The vast, ancient, red-rock, high desert wilderness of southern Utah speaks of life on the very edge of possibility. Sunlight in abundance, and heat – but water is scarce and precious. Without it, nothing lives – yet the desert has clever ways of hanging on to what little there is for future use.
Hiking and staying in this desert is conducive to reflecting on creation and its amazing capabilities. How do correspondences come into play? It’s very clear that without any water/truth there is no life. But is an over-abundance of heat/love harmful? They say ‘love is all you need’, but I’m not sure that is precisely correct.
The Lord’s truth is vital for the order of things. Even a very little bit can be treasured, and saved for future use. A tiny drop of water can be stored in the desert dust, gradually increasing its capacity to keep more water, leading to tiny plants being able to establish and grow, until full clear life blooms.
Here are photos of life – living things – growing in what would seem an impossible place. And yet there it is!
Isn’t it cheering that communal celebrations happen? I suspect that just about everyone, for instance, loves attending weddings.
People have their own favorite reasons for a party…. England recently celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne! – with all sorts of special events throughout the land. In May we went to lots of studios during Oxfordshire Artweeks, to celebrate the creative skills of artists throughout the county. As I write, we’ve just been to a nearby village festival to watch steamroller printing: large lino-cut images printed by a steamroller engine riding over them! Later this summer, a favorite local music festival will have its ‘Last Hurrah’ after taking place for almost 20 years. There’s New Church Day, with pageants and picnics and presents for children. And American Independence Day – parades, fireworks, more picnics.
Now and then I make fairly hopeless attempts to reduce the ‘stuff’ our kids will need to sort through once I have left this world – objects, photos, and old letters and emails that capture intangible thoughts and ideas, and recall friends. Some say that ‘the present is all we have’, but all our earlier moments have made us who we are; they are evidence of how we came to be.
Keepsakes can be both physical and ephemeral. Intangible things are just as real as tangible ones – maybe even more real, from eternity’s viewpoint. ‘You can’t take it with you’ only applies to objects – it doesn’t necessarily apply to what you treasure.
‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moss and dust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ Matthew 6:19-21