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August 2022

The eighth month of the current (Gregorian) calendar and the sixth month of the earlier Roman Calendar (Sextillis) renamed Augustus after the first Roman emperor.  The word august also means respected, distinguished or venerable as derived from its Roman origins.

For many it is the month of summer holidays; of sun, sand sea and more, especially for those with children. It also becomes an opportunity for a change of scene and routine and may bring lasting memories which endure once normal life resumes. The end of August is also the busiest time for removal companies although this may also be linked to the start of the new school year in September.

In her song, ‘August’ Taylor Swift uses the words

’Lost in the memory, August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine…’ 

Which captures some of the ephemeral nature of the month and escapism needs no apologies if it recharges our batteries to face the challenges of everyday life. 

This need for a time to pause is also reflected in the wisdom of the Fourth Commandment in that a seventh day of rest is to be set aside, not so much as a rule of religious control but rather as a source of both physical and mental health.  When my life becomes more hectic than it should be, I sometimes reflect of the words of William Henry Davies,

‘What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…

Indeed, I believe that rest is one of God’s gifts to humankind – not so much as an opportunity to stop completely, but rather to gather the resources to continue on life’s journey, as is expressed eloquently in George Herbert’s poem, ‘The Pulley’….

When God at first made man,

Having a glass of blessings standing by,

“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.

Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,

Contract into a span.”

So strength first made a way;

Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.

When almost all was out, God made a stay,

Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,

Rest in the bottom lay.

“For if I should,” said he,

“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,

He would adore my gifts instead of me,

And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;

So both should losers be.

“Yet let him keep the rest,

But keep them with repining restlessness;

Let him be rich and weary, that at least,

If goodness lead him not, yet weariness

May toss him to my breast.”

Charles Hill

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