|The church--Home to God and John of Aller--viewed from Aller Hill, where the dragon's eggs were buried|
|The Saxon Font|
I took them "To the Ancient Church" -- as the somewhat obscure sign reads at the end of the drove. I showed them the Alfred (The Great) window, the Saxon font, and well-preserved architectural details from the old part of our church.
Because the boy was very interested in dragons that day, I showed him the effigy of John of Aller and John of Clevedon, which lie in repose in our church. The latter effigy is well-preserved and is of an armoured knight, as Clevedon died jousting.
|John of Aller, what slayed the dragon|
|John of Clevedon|
|Aller Hill, where dragon eggs be buried|
John of Aller's spear was in another nearby church for many years -- so it must have been quite a long throw. I'm not sure if the spear is still at High Ham or if it's been relocated to a museum someplace. The dragon remains our village mascot--we have dragon mosaics and dragon tiles adorning various landmarks. We celebrated the Queen's Jubilee by commissioning a very fine dragon sculpture. I showed all these sights to my young friend, who clearly absorbed all these details and proudly wrote his name in our church visitors' registry.
|Aller's Dragon-themed sculpture, left|
and mosaic above
Matthew 21:16 (King James Bible:) Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?I am not sure if it's pathetic or glorious, but I come as close to finding God in this boy's experience as anything else I've experienced myself in our village church. I see -- and am induced to recollect my own experience of -- the wonder and amazement of childhood: The excitement of stories; lore and evidence of ancient times; the sense of a world filled with adventure, mystery, and pure wordless delight.
And love. I find love in Tina's care and celebration of life with her grandson and daughter. I feel Tina's loving friendship in telling me about their return visit to "God of Aller." I find a completely open, no-strings-attached invitation to join this spirit, to be like a child again, tuned in to such a wondrous place and time: right here, right now.
Matthew 18:3 (King James Bible:) Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.Or for a secular version of what I'm sayin', see YouTuber Jason Silva's take on childlike wonder here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCCHn1cWhOg#t=119
or his take on awe here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QyVZrV3d3o