A faint lightning of the eastern sky betokened the coming of day and already the songs of birds, called forth from night time roosts, could be heard from tree tops, roofs and fence posts as the two young men quietly led their horses from the stable.
Neither spoke as they quickly mounted, and the only other sound was the hollow clip-clop of the horses hooves as they moved through the gate, across the silent courtyard and out towards the tree lined avenue which lead to the road beyond.
They rode side by side, occasionally turning to share a smile or exchange a word in the soft voice instinctively used in the hush of early day. And once, the older of the two men nudged his mount closer to his companion, and reaching over he touched the others hand in a fond, loving gesture.
The other youth turned and smiled, his face radiant in the muted light of the coming dawn.
Their destination was the small hillock which lay roughly to the east of the hall from where they had ridden; their object, to witness the sun rise on this Easter Sunday morning.
‘Will, you are aware love, that that the sun doesn’t really dance in the sky on Easter morn’, Edward had teased the evening before when William, his lover and dearest friend had, somewhat sheepishly expressed a wish to see the sun rise in the morning.
‘I’m not stupid, Ned’ Will had snapped, red with embarrassment, ‘I know the bloody sun doesn’t dance about on Easter day’. He thumped a chess piece onto it’s square causing the others to rattle and quiver alarmingly, ‘See any green’, he asked his amused companion, tugging his lower eyelid down to expose the pink underside.
Edward made a noise of disgust, ‘Ergh, for God’s sake Will, don’t. It’s enough to turn a man’s stomach’. Nonetheless, he had agreed that an early morning ride would be most agreeable, and they had resumed their game, with Will, as usual being well and truly trounced.
Now, it was with a quiet sense of anticipation that they walked their mounts along the rutted tracks and lanes; the endless flat landscape spread out before them, and in the distance where land kissed the sky the first glimmers of sunrise began to appear, edging the horizon in shades of red and gold.
‘Look, Edward pointed to a mound in the near distance, ‘there, Will. Thats where we’ll have the best view’. They urged the horses on to a canter, arriving at the hillock just as the first rays of the sun appeared.
And as they positioned themselves, still mounted, close to each other, knees and thighs touching, they watched as the disc of pale gold peeped over the edge bathing the blues and violets of the heather coloured sky with saffron and silver.
They watched in silence as the yellow disc rose higher and yet higher, bathing the flat and fertile land with it’s life’s source. The silence was all encompassing as nature too seemed to hold it’s breath in reverence.
‘Ned, it’s…it’s beautiful’, Will said, his eyes still firmly fixed on the scene. ‘I swear I’ve never seen the hand of God so clearly in anything in my life’.
He turned then to look at Edward and saw the suns golden light reflected in his lovers eyes and all the joy of life in his face, and to Will, it was even more beautiful than the sun rise.
‘Ned, what are you thinking?’ he whispered, loath to break the spell. ‘What can you see?’ And to himself, What can you see that I cannot
‘It is beautiful,Will’, Edward continued to gaze into the distance where the sun, having cleared the horizon now begin it’s eternal journey across the sky before reaching it’s noontime zenith and thereafter it’s inevitable descent.
‘I’m not thinking anything particularly profound nor seeing anything more than you can, Will’, he turned then to his lover, reached across and briefly touched Will’s face with gentle fingers, ‘but how small and insignificant we are in all this’, he said, encompassing the whole vista with a sweep of his arm, ‘and what we are, us, you and I, and how despite everything, it goes on. Surely, Will if…if what we do, how we feel was so wrong, how then could we still be granted this privilege of seeing His work, His miracle spread before us like this?’
He paused for a moment before continuing, ‘Doesn’t it seem strange to you that, despite what the Scriptures tell us, we haven’t been denied all this, that God still let’s us witness the beauty of an Easter morn?’
‘No, Ned, no it doesn’t’, Will said, ‘We love each other and that’s good in His eyes’. He was thoughtful for a moment before continuing, ‘I think that…that He sees what we do love in each other which is the spirit, the soul and the heart. This body, this outer covering is nothing in His eyes. It’s what’s inside….what we feel and are that is important’. He turned and grinned, ‘Does that make sense Ned?’
‘Yes, sweet, yes it does. It makes perfect sense’. Turning Cybele around to stand head to tail with Will’s mount, he leaned across, cupping his lovers face in his hand, and capturing his mouth in a brief but tender kiss. ‘And I love you even more for feeling like that. I could not have put it better my self, Will’.
They stayed there for a while longer, exchanging kisses and whispering endearments as the new day came to life around them and the sun burned away the last of the morning clouds to leave a sky of gentian blue.
‘Mmmm, I’ve just had a wonderful thought myself, Will’, Edward said, delivering a last hearty kiss to his beloved.
‘The Lenten fast is over’.
‘Yes, Ned, it is’.
‘And I’m heartily sick of bloody fish’.
‘So, you want…..what?’
‘Apart from y….’
‘Lets go home, Will. I’m starving’.
‘For what, Ned?’
Edward grinned and winked as they turned their mounts and headed for home.
I have to thank my good friend E T (no, not the ridiculous bug eyed alien) for giving me the impetus to finish this story. All I had to do was imagine her cheering me on waving ‘Cheerleaders’ pom poms. Thanks, E T. You know who you are.