Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. I am not Jewish but I write as one who lived for many years in a Jewish area. Mrs Llew and I, and our two girls, will remember the solemnity of these 26 hours of fasting and prayer: the silence which cloaked the district, the family groups walking to and from Synagogue, subdued, inward looking.
I copy from a Jewish website about this holy day: ‘The day is the most solemn of the year, yet an undertone of joy suffuses it: a joy that revels in the spirituality of the day and expresses the confidence that G-d will accept our repentance, forgive our sins, and seal our verdict for a year of life, health and happiness.’
The need to be ‘at one’ with family, the world, oneself and God ( if a believer) is common to everyone, I think. I live in hope.
Meanwhile the world bustles on. The autumn fair has taken over our town’s market square. A terrifying machine, tall as a dockyard crane, wheels its passengers higher than the church tower and plunges them earthwards. Young families come and go carrying large fluffy soft toys. A boy carefully carries a goldfish. Security men in great Dayglo coats direct the traffic.
I have been deeply involved with a campaign to keep the venue and retain the funding of our local old people’s Day Centre. It is an engagement in politics, however local, in which no quarter is given. I think we’re gaining ground.
This has kept me far from my thoughts of the gold and green headland and the surrounding calm sea (which occupied my earlier posts). Mrs Llew made me a birthday card which perfectly pictured that place – a place of reconciliation and peace and hope.
I feel I belong there though and I will go back. Meanwhile I look for peace in the battles of the day, here in the town.