On Sunday I had to return to the Spring despite my previous plans to spend the day at home.
It was treacherous on both the pavement and the road where people collect water. I took salted grit and a spade to clear the ice which was done quite quickly. Then, on going inside, I found that the drain taking the water away had blocked. We had a flood by the back door. This is relatively common, so it causes no alarm. The plumbing that was put in place in the 80’s to take the water under the courtyard has a ‘dog leg’ bend in it. So that just a few twigs or leaves escaping through the mesh leading to the drain can easily block it.
There is no other remedy but to take up the drain cover, get the rods out and start clearing. It can be a fun practical meditation; symbolically clearing blockages on a personal level too. I often get an audience whilst doing this; the drain cover is right there in the middle of the courtyard.
This is the time when I most often hear the questions and comments like ‘ you know what this place needs?’ or ‘what you need to do is…’ I listen patiently, I sometimes respond with ‘yes we have tried that,’ or ‘the reason we cannot do that right now is …’ I rarely hear anything new that hasn’t been tried before. Of course, I know that the only long-term solution is to dig up the whole courtyard; a task for the future when the funding becomes available to transform the garden.
I continued to push the drain rods through over and over until I heard the satisfying gurgle, and saw air bubbles rising to the surface. The water drained away rapidly, rushing through the pipes unencumbered – job done. I left to go home and spend the rest of the day with my children, two wonderful helpers were due to open at 1.30pm. I saw them as I left, and we talked about changing the rota slightly for Sundays. I must confess, I have only just sorted it out.
The White Spring is never far from my thoughts, wherever I am and whatever I am doing. I have many tasks including taking bookings, checking emails and comments, keeping the calendar, writing words for the website etc. I often have calls from groups all around the world who want to have some private time in the place. Tuesday is my usual admin day, but I take calls all week of course.
I had a call from a Lady who had arrived last November for an impromptu visit, she wanted to arrange a booking. It had been one of those remarkable visits where Max and I had just popped in to do a small job and were planning to leave quite quickly. I was taking the ‘Shepherdess’ painting of Brigid to a new home and we had just come to collect it when a sweet face looked in through the doorway.
We had little time so Max tried to explain that we were not open. The lady said she had just been on the Tor and was visiting with some Peruvian teachers; she asked if they could they come in for a quick visit now. We lit up some candles and waited a few minutes for them to arrive. When they did, I was surprised to find the two teachers, an older man with a younger one who was possibly his son, arrived with my next door neighbour!
They came in and spent some time by the shrines. As they stood beside the water their guide asked them if they thought the place was okay, the older man looked at her with his eyes of wisdom shining and did a little dance. ‘Good,’ she said.
I sent a message to my friend in Stroud to say that I would be late bringing her the painting and for the overnight visit that I had planned. I explained that we had some visitors from Peru at the Spring. Later that evening when I arrived at her place she told me that she had been intrigued about a particular statue of a Saint in her local Church. It was of Saint Martin and that day (3rd November) was his Feast Day. When she went to found out more about this Saint she found he was from Peru. She had just got home after saying prayers to St Martin when she got my text!
St. Martin de Porres was born at Lima, Peru, in 1579. His father was a Spanish gentleman and his mother a coloured freed-woman from Panama. At fifteen, he became a lay brother at the Dominican Friary at Lima and spent his whole life there-as a barber, farm laborer, almoner, and infirmarian among other things.
Martin had a great desire to go off to some foreign mission and thus earn the palm of martyrdom. However, since this was not possible, he made a martyr out of his body, devoting himself to ceaseless and severe penances. In turn, God endowed him with many graces and wondrous gifts, such as, aerial flights and bilocation. From – Catholic.org
What amazing synchronicity! In the morning I had spent time with Peruvian visitors at the White Spring, then in the evening I spent time talking about a Peruvian Saint. We visited the Church later that night, where the statue of the Saint stood. It was dark when we arrived so we lit a candle and meditated in the Church for a while.
Although I do not consider myself to be Catholic, I still appreciate the beauty and divinity that can be found in Churches, and the magic of the colourful potent ceremonies. I believe all religions hold a core divinity, and I like to hang out where this can be felt.
I wonder what will unfold from this visit in June. It seems auspicious considering the synchronicity of the last one and I am looking forward to welcoming them again.
Now back to the diary – we have so many bookings coming in as more and more people hear about the White Spring. We will need more helpers to ensure we keep up with them, but first we have a cleansing; there are pools to be cleaned, pipes to be flushed, songs to be sung and sanctifying to do. More about that next time.