Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Let's fly kites

Spring has sprung and now we've passed the Equinox, the nights will grow shorter and the days longer. It's a fresh spring day with a slight nip and a light breeze.

It's Lent but not the weather for kites. Now there's a strange connection. A few years ago I was surprised to read that in Greece the first day of Lent - 'Clean Monday' - was traditionally a day for families to go into the hills and fly kites. Lent starts two days earlier in the Orthodox calendar, apparently. They don't do Ash Wednesday and the ashes on the forehead thing, but their fasting regime is much stricter - although, with some casuistry, the Greeks have managed to wangle it that shrimps are classified as vegetables ...

Orthodox priest flying a kite
According to Bishop Kallistos Ware, the Orthodox are 'encouraged to associate Lent with fresh air, with the wind blowing in the hills, with the coming of spring. Lent is a time for flying kites - a time for adventure, exploration, fresh initiatives, new hope.' (Lent and the Consumer Society, in Living Orthodoxy in the Modern World ed. Andrew Walker and Costa Carras, London 1996).

I like this.

I'm in between jobs at the moment. I've just finished some freelance projects (I've had a good month) and am seeking my next. I've no idea how long that will take nor where it will come from. It's a bit like a kite, a sudden dip in the breeze and it plummets, only to rise up on the next eddy. I'm going to have to get used to this.

I wonder what new initiatives I can take, what adventures are in store?

Orthodox kite flying, Ilam, Derbyshire
I'm running a four-week Lent Study Group on poetry and creative writing - linking practical workshops with work by old and contemporary poets and aspects of the Psalms and various liturgies. It's the first time I've done something like this for a sustained period, so it's a form of kite flying. It seems to have got off to a flying start.

I could get even more corny and start tugging on the kite string metaphors for all they're worth. I've done enough of it already - but I will say this: even when the breeze has dropped, it's still worth the climb to enjoy the view.

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