There are interludes in life that are simply breathtaking. It is only ten days since the School was officially brought to birth. That, in itself, was pure joy. Since then I, who live so many miles from the closest friend geographically, and seldom see them, have been blessed with having many of them in my guest room or filling my days.
First my favourite painter, next a very dear friend who is a partner in investigative mischief for the weekend. Two much loved people for breakfast, then last night there were three all at once. This may not sound particularly exciting… except that their combined journeys could circumnavigate the globe and then some. And the shared smiles, the laughter, the intimacy of these hours is rare and wonderful.
As I said, breathtaking.
So last night four of us talked. A lot. Over dinner. Then two of us, one wearing completely impractical heels, wandered around exploring the cobbled alleyways and nightscapes of Oxford for a few hours. It was Beltane Eve… it had to be done.
Retiring to our respective hotels for a couple of wholly inadequate hours of sleep, we arranged to meet before six a.m. at the base of the Magdalen Tower . The crowds prevented us all joining up on time, but we nevertheless shared the beauty of the choir singing in the first morning of May and held silence for the prayers shared by many.
As the crowds dispersed, scattering like gaily coloured petals across the town, we met, to much hugging and many smiles. Then went in search of tea.
The town was alive with church bells, music and smiles. I saw nothing but joy all day. I cannot believe I have lived so close for so long yet never been there on May Day. Yet, after all is said and done, I would not have chosen to share my first visit to these festivities with anyone else. I have not had so much fun in a very long time.
I drank in the life and colour, the hats decorated with flowers and May blossom, the music and infectious gaiety. I tapped my feet till my hand was taken in a spiral dance, was fed strawberries while becoming part of a human mandala in the park, met wonderful people, but most of all shared a moment in time with three much loved friends.
And tomorrow morning, we start all over again, rather more sedately perhaps, but I doubt there will be less laughter.
If I am quiet for a little while, this is the reason why. I have been given the gift of time with people I love and see too seldom. Time that is precious. Who knows when we will all meet again? It is certain there will not be another today, with the sun shining on the golden stone of a beautiful city full of music. Nor can there be another yesterday, sharing breakfast with two people I love dearly and dinner with another three. Each day, each moment, comes only once and must be lived now, or it is forever gone.
There can be few things that lift the heart more than a beloved pair of eyes twinkling back at you in a shared and mischievous smile. So for a few days forgive me if I am not very visible in words. I am with friends, both older and younger than I in years, perhaps, but taking such delight in each other and in life that every moment feels like Christmas. Even if it is May Day.