March: mizzle, magnolia and memories

We're well into Passiontide, with the mood in our churches and liturgies quietly sombre, and increasingly intense. The weather this month has seemed determined to reflect all this: a few mild, sunny days coming as welcome interludes in a mostly grey, wet, chilly month. When I look out on the day each morning, even if it isn't actually raining, the pavements are invariably slick, and dully glistening, the air damp with a scarcely visible drizzle which is more mist than rain... And when it isn't mizzling, then it's drizzling or full-on, pelting rain!

But nature knows it is March; and this week, in between the rain, the weather has been mild. A week ago the laburnum opposite my home was all spindly bare branches; now a gently waving, drooping brownish fuzz fills in its many gaps. Other trees are jaunty with blossom, while L's bend is adorned by three blooming magnolias. At the furthest end of the road, still visible through the laburnum, a profusion of pure white, with only the tiniest hint of pink. Midway, a small tree is flowering deep wine. And here, on L's bend itself, my neighbour's rosy-white magnolia, clearly visible from my perch on the sofa. It is already past its magnificent best (and graciously scattering its petals as so much largesse), but its beauty has certainly filled and brightened up the past couple of weeks for me. 

And the other day I realised that March 2023 is thirty years since I first contacted the Society, sometime in March 1993. I had already spent what felt like too long visiting - and at times revisiting - other orders, meeting some lovely women but, alas, knowing I wasn't called here... wondering whether I had mistaken God's call... returning with certainty to knowing that I was not deluded... and some more fruitless contact... And then, in March 1993, with renewed intent, I sent letters (yes, those were the days of handwriting and stamped envelopes!) to another five orders, one of them the Society of the Sacred Heart. And the rest, as you all know, is history...