June
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June 8

The weather has turned cold... and wet. In Llangammarch the river was as close to flooding as I have seen it. The normal range is up to 1.2 m, at 6 pm yesterday at Cilmery it was over 2 m but still some way off the highest recorded which was over 4 m.

river

June 9

The rain stopped in time for Man v Horse in Llanwrtyd. If it had continued it would've been canceled -- there was flooding in Ceredigion on the other side of the mountains. By the afternoon the sun had come out and it was a lovely summer day. The trees are in full leaf, dark and heavy and green and the river was a churning brown torrent of water. Unsurprisingly no dippers. Apparently they are able to go without food for a few days, but I hope all the chicks are fledged, otherwise they would surely have got washed away. There were signs all along the river of how high it had risen last evening. In the fields the buttercups are out and a very delicate little umbellifera. The sycamore flowers are still in bloom and humming with insects, although tiny little keys are beginning to emerge.

umbeliferra

June 10

In our lawn which we have left grow into a meadow I watched a hedgehog snuffling his merry way this morning. I enjoyed church this morning with a bumper congregation (all of 19!) but it is the hedgehog that made my heart sing...

June 14

I managed to get down to the river before the rain set in, although I was caught in a shower.  In a forgotten field the grass was long and delightfully speckled with buttercup.  Foxgloves are rising up above the throng and everywhere is lush and damp and green.  Down by the river a good paw print which I think I can definitely identify as otter. 

otter print

June 16

It has been very wet.  The river levels are nudging up above normal and I think they will rise more.  Yesterday the Wye was a blanket of brown water.

June 18

The hedgehog in the garden again. He peered at me when I went out to say hello then when I had gone he shuffled back into the long grass.

June 19

A rather grey day.  Cloud thick and thickening in the afternoon to produce a few spots of rain.  Down by the river midsummer is setting in and under the grey skies it had a somnolent feeling.  Nettles are growing tall and spiky in disturbed corners.  The river is still very full: a gushing green torrent and no dippers in sight, but as we walked along a tremendous clattering of wings and two female Goosanders flying rapidly upstream, there was also some disturbance going downstream – perhaps the males.  I have never seen male goosanders on this stretch of the river, although I have further down the Wye.  By the evening the sun had come out and the valley was looking beautiful and peaceful in the low light.

June 20 Midsummer's Eve

A service for Midsummer's Eve in Llanfihangel Abergwesyn. The humid gray cloud lifted and we were bathed in sunshine and fortunately not a midget in sight! We had a lovely time in the midst of graves, yew trees and many memories from years past as we planted wild daffodils and looked down past the old chapel to the energetic stream that is the Irfon in this remote and wild place

Introduction

Come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Maranatha!
Come, Lord, come.
Duw, brysia i’n cynorthwyo
Arglwydd, prysura i’n cymorth
Let all the earth rest in God and may we be at peace in the Spirit's presence for we are God's people and the sheep of God's pasture

Silence

Thanksgiving

For the earth and green and growing things, for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes!, we thank you… we thank you

For mountains, for river, for swallow in summer air, for otter waiting till nightfall, for buzz of insect and splash of rain, we thank you... we thank you

For village and town, for road and footpath, for everything which stays the same, for everything which changes, for the people dead and the people yet to be born, we thank you… we thank you

For Abergwesyn, for the people who sustain and nurture this place, for the people who bring life into the wild and the wild into life, we thank you... we thank you

For this ancient place, for the church long since departed, for the yew trees still living, for everything which is faith, which is hope, which is love, we thank you... we thank you

For the churches on the Irfon River, for the churches on the Cammarch, for the churches on the Chwefri and the Dulas, for the Wye, for the wide welcoming Ocean and for the world it embraces, we thank you… we thank you

Canticle

(based on Mary’s magnificat)
I am ecstatic, shocked, awed... joyful. I'm shaking with every emotion God has created!
I was a poor woman of no significance
but God reached down,
down into the chaos of human history and said
"You Mary.  You are to be the vessel of my liberation"
How...?  Why...?  My words fail...
But why am I surprised?
This is always the way God works
The mask of celebrity is shown to be worthless
But the labour of the poor never loses its value
Pure-blooded superiority is toppled
And the oppressed prisoner becomes the ruler of the nation
The empire of the tycoon falters and fails
But the work of the unknown artisan lasts for years
And now by the turbulent Spirit
I will be a symbol of hope,
A sign across the years
Of God's upside down story:
The Liberation of All Humanity

Bible reading and meditation

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. …Then there appeared to Zechariah an angel of the Lord. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John…’ Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.’. … After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, ‘This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.’… Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son and her neighbours and relatives rejoiced with her.

Prayers

Act of prayer (planting wild daffodils)

Invocation of St Michael

O Angel! Carry, O Michael so powerful, My case to the Lord.  Are you listening? Ask of the God of forgiveness The remission of all my sins. Do not delay, Carry my fervent desire Before the King, the Great King. To my soul Bring help, bring comfort At the moment of my departure from earth. In strength, To meet my pining soul, Come with multitudes of Angels. O Champion Against the evil, foul and troublesome world Truly come and help me. Do not shower  contempt on what I say; Do not abandon me while I live. You I choose To free this soul of mine, My mind, my reason, my body. O Advocate Triumphant and generous, O Angelic victor over anti-Christ.

Lord’s Prayer

Hymn

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Prayer for peace

May the Spirit, who moved over the face of the waters at creation, breathe into us the life and peace she brings. Amen

The Conclusion

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all, evermore. Amen

Unfortunately none of us remembered to bring a camera!

June 30

We had a weeks holiday over the Cambrian mountains on the coast of Ceredigion. A beautiful and rugged coastline. One day sitting on a promontory jutting out into the Irish Sea we were serenaded by the wonderfully wild calling of choughs above, whilst dolphins leapt and cavorted in the sea beneath us. Magical.

On the television I caught a report about fishing on the River Wye where taking out salmon and trout has now been banned and all fish must be returned to the river when caught so low have stocks become. I presume this includes the Irfon but maybe it doesn't apply to otters and those of us who forage their hunting.