The cold night, with silver fields and the first lights rising across the horizon. The gentleness of sunrise. like a mother walking quietly not to wake up her child too abruptly. Walking barefoot in a circus tent, around the Burning Bush, hair down, nothing to hide the stream of tears down my face. A breakdown of all defenses, like a child who runs to her parents after a nightmare. Songs of praise in my ears, sitting cross-legged until my legs go numb, waiting for morning, the one that is timidly approaching and the one that will never end.
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen pain, down my knees I call your name…
A personal encounter. As an intellectual, that’s the thing that came the hardest. So hard, in fact, that it was once used as a penance. “Just stop thinking.”
Nothing left to hold on to, I raise these empty hands to you…
Tears are flowing and I don’t even know what I’m crying for. It’s so much it feels like all the sorrow in my whole life at once.
You know the story of every tear…
My messy just-woken-up hair made even messier, my veil left on the bed in the tent. I did not realise it, I didn’t even try to put it on. Here I am, naked and vulnerable. Tonight I’m a child…and now it’s dawn.
There is something about charismatic settings that upsets the order of things. Changing in a tent and walking in wellies through muddy fields doesn’t encourage dressing elegantly. Even the average attire at Wilderness Festival (otherwise known as Poshstock) is more relaxed than a city setting.
By the third day I was wearing a hoodie that I didn’t own until I was in Walsingham suffering the cold at night. It’s something that normally would feel like it’s not myself, but the spirit of Youth 2000 is so contagious it feels just right. It’s exhilarating.
An impromptu trip to the seaside gave me a chance to see life beyond the shrine, a place where time is like suspended. The beautiful cottages, with the white ironworks and the colourful flowers. The farmer’s market with game patés and cheeses and all sorts of gifts from Heaven for a foodie. The small market selling artisanal products that turn a house into a home. A vibrant yet peaceful life beyond London. The simple beauty of an unassuming place.
I’ve come to appreciate something more idyllic than the hustle and bustle of London. At first, it was new and exciting. Now I love to lose myself around the silent rooms of the Victoria and Albert Museum, or the lengthy nave of the Oratory, or the most hidden corners of Regent’s Park, or the quiet residential streets behind Kensington High Street. I’ve always had a thing for beauty, but when I was younger there was something that would push me away from contemplation towards a sort of divertissement. I would have a more daring style, a more creative taste. As I walk down the path of finding my true self, what used to seem to me oppressive religious legalism matured into my natural style. I’m a romantic at heart, and in the approaching autumn of my life, I’m starting to settle for my most conservative traits. Elegant, classy, ladylike.
Lyrics (c) The Afters, Broken Hallelujah.