St Blane’s dawn

The sun touches the uppermost point of the stone cross perched on the apex of the little chapel’s roof. Dew crystaled lichen capturing the rays of light and sending them twinkling to the ground. Beneath the cross,the building is held in darkness. Thick fog-clinging, valley-filling darkness, coating the walls in damp rivulets, running down onto the rotting window cills, breaking them into sodden lumps of wood.

All around the graveyard is green with dripping moss, hanging from the stones and flowing into the thick couch grass carpet below. Voices gather. At first indistinguishable from the ‘cack’ of jackdaws in the brooding, bare branches above. Broken fragments of speech, climbing into the valley. The squelch of boots through the soaking grass; the soft rustle of oilskin; the breathlessness of lifting, as the old pedal organ is hauled into place.

Slowly the voices grow distinct, individual, reaching out to each other, and forming conversations. The growing crowd silencing for now, the cackle of birds. Faces cram into the ruined chapel, lit by the sun now reaching down through the chancel window, while the mist drips from tight drawn hoods.

A new gathering of modern monks, bridging the millennium, reaching back to the monks of Blane, holding fast the thread of time. The pedal organ puffs and wheezes into life, notes clinging to the damp air, always a third too high to sing easily. Dawn breaks full through the window’s stone arch, flooding the little congregation in pale golden light, as the Easter hymn rises once more through the brooding trees, chasing the jackdaws cackling loudly into the skies.

© Malcolm Alexander 2017