We put the shopping away, ready to drive home. The sun was shining and the car had an away-on-holiday warmth and smell. Through the windscreen the sky was without a cloud, as blue as when you know that beyond the next hill you will catch your first glimpse of the distant sea. We are far from the sea here but, in Waitrose car park, the echoes of holidays over the years came as a blessing. They recalled not only squelchy sand and slippery rocks, and seaweed, dry and crackly above the tideline, and crab sandwiches, but all the promise of a day beneath red cliffs, with turquoise water extending to the horizon. This promise was its own fulfilment because it was a delight in itself. But in that fulfilment was a new promise. I can only call it the promise of paradise while, even so, paradise was there and it was then – on the beach, beneath the red cliffs, in the sun. And so it was in the car park. There was no sadness or frustration. In the warm car smell the promise was valid still, as the sun shone through the windscreen.
High in a tree on the way to the roundabout there hangs a clump of what looks like mistletoe. That plant recalls another season of promise, of life, of paradise.
It seems to me that what gives meaning to our lives is at a tangent to linear time. Maybe it’s eternal meaning. Maybe it’s where our lives touch eternity.