A very dear lady gave me a pot of honey for Christmas. Oh my goodness! Not only was it delicious but it was very close to a time travel experience. Allow me to explain …
My Grandpa was a Vicar at a little church in Yarmouth, on the Isle of Wight. The Rectory was a big old Victorian house built for the days when Vicars had many children and didn’t mind being very cold, all the time. Apparently the Anglican Church had various suggestions for “suitable” hobbies for the Clergy and one of them was bee keeping. I think others were vegetable gardening and painting. Basically things that involved one being immersed in the one’s surroundings and keeping profitably busy while appreciating gifts from nature. Grandpa had a wonderful vegetable garden (though he would insist on growing brussel sprouts and broad beans, both of which are penitential vegetables in my opinion).
Anyhoo - back to the bee keeping.. the hives were at the back of the garden and we would occasionally see Grandpa dressed in his protective paraphernalia and carrying his smoker. (I remember having a confused dream once about grandpa being an astronaut and carrying Aladdin’s lamp – I’ve just figured out where that came from!) This is all a very long winded way of saying that my Grandpa made honey (well, his bees did). I’d forgotten most of this, it was filed away in the dusty, unlit basement of my mind along with .. well I can’t remember what it was with actually. But open one jar of honey and the memories came bursting through in a rush and transported me effortlessly back to being beside the fire in the Rectory, bread on long-handled fork in front of the fire and spreading honey onto the slightly less black side of the resultant toast. I had a very happy breakfast in the past this morning.
Have you ever had the feeling of deep recognition of a new place or person? I thought this was just something everyone experienced but apparently not. It’s the feeling you get when you walk in a place that’s been inhabited for thousands of years. Or when you meet the person you will marry or hold your new baby – it’s a feeling summed up by the delighted words “Oh! It’s you!” And it’s the feeling you get when you cross the threshold of your early home – of all roads leading out from here and back again with perfect rhythm and synchronicity.
When explaining to people that I don’t worship at All Saints I describe it as my ancestral home, and the church where I worship as my current home. I am blessed to be able to return to my familial roots whenever I come to work– like the Queen switching between Buckingham Palace and Sandringham.
And now we’re back to the beginning of another New Year. The cycle begins again with subtle harmony.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Welcome back, welcome home.