Stokesley Bear: November 2018
The memory is a funny thing, I've found. If I don't make a note of something I need to do, I find that I forget to do it. On the other hand, I remember things that I don't need to do anything about. Yet again, I when I do remember things, I sometimes remember them incorrectly.
On the weekend of 10-11 November, it was difficult to forget that, as a country, we marked a hundred year since the end of the Great War. Everywhere I went, it seemed, there were poppies. I visited Great Ayton for the Coffee morning, where there were also cake and gift stalls. Outside the church, there was a blanket of knitted poppies. Next I stopped off at Stokesley, where the church was opened for people to visit the remembrance display. The display commemorated other centenary anniversaries, including votes for women. I stopped for a quiet moment and added my poppy to the display at the front of the church. I was so inspired by my visit on Saturday that I decided to come back on Sunday to visit Hutton Rudby. I had read the following piece in the Hutton Rudby notices:
"In commemoration and remembrance of the end of the war and the many millions who were killed or came home dreadfully wounded, 1000 Beacons of Light will be lit at 7pm on 11th November 2018 throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories — a century after the guns fell silent. The event will also commemorate the huge army of men and women on the home front who, often in dangerous and exhausting conditions, underpinned the war effort — keeping the wheels of industry turning, bringing the harvests home to ensure the nation did not starve. The Beacons will symbolise the 'light of hope' that emerged from the darkness of war. 1000 councils (including our own Parish Council), communities and other organisations have already confirmed their involvement by agreeing to light WWI Beacons of Light that evening."
I decided to go along but I thought that the events were starting at 5.55pm instead of 6.55pm! As I waited, I walked around the beacon and, with my paws freezing, I wrote the following...
An unlit beacon and a flag half fluttering in the evening breeze and across the country 999 other beacons wait unlit the coming of light and hope.
The time seems to drag on as the darkness and cold press in around.
Yet there is also light; light from cars roaring past, light from street lamps, and light from the cold distant stars
What was it like a century ago? Was it so cold and dark? Did hope like the stars seem so distant?
As people and dogs gather, the mood changes; the expectation builds and the noise increases.
Then the bugler plays and we fall silent. A poem and a prayer direct our thoughts.
Out of the darkness, parting the crowd, comes the torch: the heat and light are intense and I want to follow but wait and watch as the wood catches light sending sparks flying into the night.
As the wind changes direction, the crowd steps back suddenly aware of the danger. Then, as if far away, come the ringing of the church bells.
How long, I wonder, will this light and hope last? Not long; the flames will die and the crowd disperse but perhaps I can take a spark of hope home.
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