The Tshwane Gospel Choir were singing as we gathered in Greyfriars Kirk this morning, joyful, vibrant, Spirited.
Harriet, one of the University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy team, led a reflection on faith, reflecting on the Passion story we'd both seen on Thursday (which I wrote about here) – 'as Jesus was stripped, we were stripped, as he died, we died, as he rose - and he danced - we rose, we danced' – and telling stories of faith held by the community as much as, if not more than, it being something any individual possesses.
A young child was baptised, a look of quiet interest in all around her captivating all around her. The Greyfriars choir sang a blessing to her that was composed by her uncle.
Their voices filled the space with soul. I closed my eyes, murmured mmm in assent, and received their gift.
After reconnecting with friends not seen because of summer travels, lunch in George Square. Mmm, the chicken tikka wrap was just what I wanted – but the sauce dripping onto my dress, not so much. Life is messy.
|The Giant Purple Cow that is|
What followed was stunning in the focussed presence of the actors to the moment, each other, and the story they were creating in the moment for this audience. The horse, Bernard, grew to be a giant horse, with a mysterious bump also growing on his forehead; port became the drink of choice, a recurring play on Lady Morrison's name in her acquaintances Mrs Sainsbury and Lady Tesco mentioned, and Mrs Aldi and Lidl rather looked down on. In a Shakespearean twist, the daughter dressed as a man because she was not allowed to race, and a romance with a male jockey ... you know how those things go. There was a money scandal and relationship breakdowns, an absent father and issues of respectability and reputation.
In short – go. If you are in Edinburgh this month, get thee to Udderbelly at 1:15 any afternoon. If you are anywhere else, look out for the next tour near you.
After the show, my two friends and I got ice-cream and enjoyed a good long chat outside in the luke warm afternoon. More reconnecting after summer's diversions – I feel like I haven't seen my Edinburgh friends for months, and for some of us it has actually been that long. But as the cloudy blue sky gradually became a cloudy grey sky and the temperature dropped, we retreated for home. On the way, two of us paused with a crowd gathered around a young blond haired boy playing Beethoven (I think) on his violin. He swayed with the music, which to me indicates the music is coming from deep inside a musician's being, not simply memorised in the mind. He acknowledged the donations into his violin case, smiled for the camera, and played with joy and feeling.
His music filled the lane with soul. I closed my eyes, murmured mmm in assent, and received his gift. A moment. A melody. A kind of magic that heals.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I think I like it.