Our version of going to church on Easter Sunday was informal, stopping in to the Norman church of Saint James the Great in Coln St. Dennis towards the end of a long walk.
The churchyard is overgrown in the back and inside there are small piles of stone dust and water stains high on the walls. Alongside the signs of dilapidation is the evidence this is still a working church: an electric heater installed behind the pulpit to warm the calves of the rector, vases of browning daffodils.
On a wall in the rear hangs a list of rectors from 1272 – 2010, an improbable symbol of permanence in a structure that felt fragile. Husband and I had spent the walk talking, occasionally with raised voices, about our next moves—geographical and career—in life. I was feeling untethered, a sense that was heightened by the general state of terrorist-related anxiety across Europe. This historical record calmed me, a gold-inscribed reminder that life goes on.
As we left the church we carried on past our normal turn-off, walking into Calcot. The road opens up as you ascend out of the valley and we were greeted by strong wind at our back and tiny pieces of hail hammering the back of our legs until, on the final stretch, it stopped and this appeared.