A Humbling Devotion
Julia's 100 Word Challenge this week requires a report that captures the essence of the words There's a real buzz about this place. I immediately thought of Arundel's Roman Catholic cathedral which I happened to pass last week during a walking holiday. Churches are normally deserted places first thing on a week-day morning, but I was intrigued by the buzz among a throng waiting outside the locked doors. So I waited with them to see what was to be seen and I was awed by what lay through the gloom within.
A crowd was queuing by 9.15am, expectant as shoppers in the January sales. It was the smell that struck first when the doors opened: the intoxicating aroma of 1,500 flowers carpeting the cathedral nave. It's a tradition observed since 1877, the unfolding events of a century symbolised by patterned petals. For two days each June it shimmers beneath the soaring stonework, then, in seconds, it's trampled by a procession bearing the sacred Host on the feast of Corpus Christi. The marvel is not so much the artistry, but the sacrifice. For the point of this painstaking perfection is, as homage, its destruction.