This morning there are cherries for worship. They are reddening slowly in my front yard, awaiting sour cherry pie, somehow defying the birds which lurk so near. There is this, and the sound of the sprinklers from behind a neighborsâ€™ fence, one tone as the water brushes the fence, another as it patters on the leaves of whatever bulb is in bloom â€“ first shy daffodils, then a pride of tulips, followed by dominate giant irises and now brash, jubilant lilies. I have brought canned music with me, encased in a white electronic box, fed to me through metal earplugs, but I do not want it. I want only to feel my stride, to let my skin soak in life giving rays, the â€œtaste the colour of peachâ€ (an old line from a friendsâ€™ poem lodged in my memory these many years.)
As I walk up the slow slope from my house I pass our local school, a middle schoolâ€”old and worn, empty of itâ€™s usual wards, all of whom are trying to grow up too soon. Now there is a sandwich board out front, advertising a church. The usual handful of people wander in and out too soon for the service â€“ the mothers setting up the Sunday school room, the worship leader doing sound checks on his guitar, the kids who wander lost and bored at having to come so early so their parents can help. This past week, my children have fallen in love with the singing of church songs. They caught this fever, as they do every Summer at church camp, where the enthusiasm of college-aged music leaders is infinitely contagious. Now, they bellow them all day long to one another, singing at full voice while they leap through the sprinkler or toss one another a ball. This has struck a small cord of guilt in my heart â€“ a heart which is well tuned, over tuned, to vibrate with guilt. Perhaps my children should have these songs more than once a year? Perhaps they need them as a regular part of their diet? So I pause in my worship with cherries, and clad in my walking clothes, venture into the school building to see the church.
The minute I see the man with the guitar I know I cannot stay. My body revolts, my throat grows tight, and I have that feeling again â€“ that metaphysical distress that repels me away from this format, this podium, this song. As much as it leaves me with an aftertaste of sadness on my tongue, I cannot stay in this place I once called home. I cannot raise my children here. Not here, or here, or over there. None of these buildings will breathe for me; will grant me soil to propagate. This is not the fast desired of me.
I am to feast on cherries.