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  • Elaine Fletcher Chapman

Approaching Holy Week with Eliot

This morning I took the large drum off the wall in preparation of Holy Week. Apparently we plan on waking the neighbors early Easter morning. Today I plan to walk to the back of the church, just next door and survey the outside area where this service will take place at sunrise. I remember years ago when I lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, waking Easter morning to drumming. A lone drummer, bayside. Heard the sound from a distance and moved not so much by the  occassion of the day but the loneliness of the tempo. The beat just ahead of itself. This year I imagine a beat quite different.

During the night the temperture fell once again and I closed the bathroom window at dawn, put on a sweater to the cool air. My husband took the dog to the field. My brother who stays with us during the week, left at the same time. Alone in the house. I think what to read in these few moments? I look at the stack of books beside my bed. On top: T. S Eliot’s Four Quartets. Perfect Lenten reading, as it begins: Time present and time past… I hold my worn copy, feel the glossy cover, look for markings from previos readings: the footfalls, the rose garden, ash on an old man’s sleeve. I think ash to ash, dust to dust. We must be still and still moving. I’m constantly being told to slow down, stay put. What we call the beginning is often the end. I search for new definitions of resurrection. 108 sun salutations. Radiant Awareness. Begin with the roof of the mouth, the tongue, the inside of the cheeks. The subtle sound of Tibetan Bowls, background  to the drum. The end is where we start from. I’m all in.

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