Such a good day, today.
I had to be out of the house early – a dental appointment at 8.30am. I wanted to go by bus because my car had a flat tyre yesterday (Sunday, just as I was setting out to Mass). The AA man (Automobile Association not Alcoholics Anonymous) came at once and sorted it out, but the spare wheel is a dinky little emergency one, so I didn’t want to drive it until I’d taken it down to ATS today to get a proper wheel back on.
So the day began with walking along our street smelling the fragrance of autumn, looking at the first russet leaves fallen, and the intensity of velvet moss in the cracks of paving stones, just beautiful, intoxicating.
I’ve been glad to leave behind the exhaustion of hours added to every journey by waiting for buses, but I still love travelling by bus and train, and enjoyed so much being on the bus again today. I like the lurching bigness of it and marveling at the mindboggling variety of humanity clustered here in Hastings, sampled startlingly in the bus-travelling population. The basic model of humanity; no add-ons.
In the town, the morning still early, brightest sunshine permeating lingering mist illuminated and bathed the old stone town hall in a haze of glory; made of it a mount of transfiguration.
My dentist is a person of rare quality; gentle, intelligent, skeptical, kind, perceptive, warm – and a most excellent dentist too. As another member of the family observed, when you’ve been to see Ali, you always feel that he has given you energy instead of draining away all yours. A healer, then. He fixed my teeth.
On the way home, through the bus window I saw outside one of the dilapidated Hastings row houses a couple of delivery men stopping to talk to a woman with a puppy in her arms. One of the men, small, thin, a face lined and worn by life and weather, hair in a pony tail, was focused entirely on the tiny dog, stroking its head. The puppy wriggled in an ecstasy of love, and the man’s face was alight with tenderness.
I took my car to ATS, where the men are astonishing – so cheerful and patient, good-humoured, funny, sensible. Juggling their time between chatting to customers waiting while their cars are fixed, taking phone calls, brokering best deals on parts and chasing up loose ends. Good mechanics, too. I brought a car here once with a broken exhaust. Replacing exhausts is one of the things ATS do – so they didn’t have to pull out all the stops to save me money in mending it as they did – the man even burning his hand in the fiddly welding.
If you watch the news, read the papers, you see nothing but tele-journalists with long faces spelling out just why you should be worried. But everywhere I went today I found nothing but kindness, integrity, beauty and hope. Humanity doing its best and life illumined with sunshine.
May God bless every person I saw, every life that touched mine. As they go to bed tonight may they lie down in peace and their dreams touch heaven. God bless this street, this town, this beauty, this ordinary kindness. God look at it all and once more call it good.