Mary let her hair down (John 12.1-8).
There’re times when all about appears strangely transformed and intensified. Doxological perception, I guess you’d called it: a hymn of vision. In that moment, the natural world seems fresh, vitiated, and urgent, even under heavy weather. I saw bare and tremulous trees, as though for the first time (like new-born Adam in the Garden): glorious in their regularity and complexity; reaching to heaven; rending-up prodigal praise; embarrassing, in their own way.
When I reached Pier Street, the skies opened. Rain was driven horizontally, like raging waters, down the side streets. Behind the Perspex shields of the Old College’s West Classroom windows, the sea roared. Creation groaning; Nature railing. I thought of the recent news photographs showing bridges in South Wales that I’d walked over, now inundated – now under the rivers that once flowed under them.
11.00 am: Having conducted my morning’s batch of MA fine art tutorials, I headed into damp air and back to the mothership for the Vocational Practice class. I found myself counting my blessings: I have people who care for me and people to care for, strength of mind, mobility, major organs in working order, a job, a sense of vocation and fulfilment in its realisation, strength for today, faith, hope, and the expectation of a better world to come.
Today in class we looked at the theme of ‘professionalism’. Our discussions ranged wide; it felt appropriate to allow the group to either follow its own logic or drift towards areas of real need. To some extent, what a class is about is what takes place within it.
1.10 pm: I worked on admin through lunchtime. 2.20 pm: Teaching resumed at the Samuel Graham Laboratory. 3.10 pm: The last outing of ‘Art and Industry 1’, for the Art in Wales module. I extruded the lecture by force; my heart wasn’t in it, fully; this was acting; its time had come. 4.00 pm: The final two tutorials of the afternoon. How does one measure achievement? What you say and what’s understood by the student aren’t necessarily the same thing. There’re occasions when a throwaway comment on departing the tutorial is key to a major turnabout in understanding, and a most eloquent and incisive explanation falls by the wayside.
5.20 pm: Hail fell from heaven without mercy. I headed into the wind and home:
7.30 pm: An evening of odds ‘n sods: teaching and research admin, for the most part.