A red kite drifted above the field at the end of my road. It was about four houses high and it was working hard. No human could apply such effort and concentration without the exertion showing. But this great bird, its rust-coloured breast lit by the sun, rode the wind with scarcely a movement of its wings. Utter grace. Ease in its body. Mysteriously it even managed to float against the wind which blew strongly from the west, where the sun was moving towards evening. A white cloud glowed and was a backcloth for the bird.
It was looking for prey. I once saw a red kite capture a baby rabbit and this one today had something in its sight. Round and round and high and low it sailed under the blue sky. Then lazily, it sank to the ground, its wings for the moment like a half-closed umbrella. But only briefly, and it was off again to continue its hunt.
As I grow older I find myself frequently trying to ‘catch the moment’, not out of greed or to make a trophy of it but to comprehend it. This was such a moment. I struggle for an analogy. Cast a stone into a pond and it falls to the bottom. Stay and watch the ripples. The stone is gone but the ripples go onwards and outwards. I speculate but perhaps, for us, each passing moment has ripples which extend outwards, to infinity – or eternity. We have had 50 years of passing moments together, Mrs Llew and I, as we reach our golden wedding this week.
When we were young our time was linear. We battled on to the next goal: paying mortgages, bills, doing our best for our children, making many mistakes on the way. When we were observant we took it all with us to Holy Communion.
That progress has slowed now, though it won’t stop while we’re alive. We’re left with the debris of those years, also with the many successes, and much happiness.There are also the wounds. We look back and pray that where all those passing moments crossed with things eternal they will be absorbed into new life and meaning: for us together, all those we have known, loved (or not), and for each other individually.