Friday, 15 April 2022

THE BIG WEEK

In Welsh Holy Week is Yr Wythnos Fawr - The Big Week. Palm Sunday is Sul y Blodau, Flower Sunday. Four years ago I was in Lebanon for Palm Sunday and the churches celebrated with palm leaves and olive branches. This time of year is important for other faiths too, and even for those without an adherence to any organised religion Easter seems to mark a celebration of spring. Last week I walked with a friend down the valley of Nant Gadwen to Porth Ysgo. There were primroses beside the stream and a lizard skittered away from the water-worn stones at the foot of the long flight of wooden steps to the shore. The old manganese workings and tramway, still visible after almost eight decades of abandonment, are softened by the spring vegetation. This week the bluebells are starting to come out in contrast with the vivid chrome yellow gorse flowers. Blue and yellow, the colours of Ukraine. They are echoed in a display in Hefina's haberdasher's shop in Pwllheli (yes, a real haberdasher's shop), in the crocheted decorations on the top of a Criccieth post box, in the blue and yellow flags flying in the streets. Today is Good Friday. Marianne Burton's poem,'3pm: the Ninth Hour: Calvary' repeats the words 'Love shining' four times and ends with the words: 'For those who have marked in their diary/the hour when, for them, a heart stopped.'

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