Wednesday, June 24, 2009


If you can keep your head
When all about you are losing theirs...

("If." Rudyard Kipling 1896)

This is one of those weeks. A short few days in eternity when the death of a most wonderful human being is being almost eclipsed by the funeral activity. (Not the family arrangements, I must stress.) And I'm pretty sure that dear Heyward is annoyed by it all. For despite his rank and responsibility he was never one to like such nonsense. Damn it, he even apologized for his weakened condition when I visited him two days before he died. "Tim, there's really no need, but I am so grateful..." Such humble protest was not there when I laid my hand on his shoulder as he died.

The 'phone has been non-stop, and I would expect nothing else. People, good people, near and far who wish to attend Heyward's funeral and express their grief (I hate the phrase, "pay their respects." So clinical.) It's the peripheral people who can be irritating.

It is a pleasant evening, given the weather of late, and I have set up a "parish command center" on the rear deck, with all manner of communications available, short of a direct link to NASA. (Although come to think of it, what does that cable do?) I've been fielding calls and sendings texts and emails. Now it is wonderfully quiet for the moment. In all of this activity I am deeply aware that a great deal else is going on, there are other people I would rather be with, and that I must not forget that.

If I were to choose a metaphor for myself this week it would be the swan. The swan glides on the water, seemingly effortlessly, but under the surface the legs are paddling like crazy!

I must try to be a good swan, and you know what, I won't let Rudyard Kipling down!


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