A FEW WORDS ABOUT TRIDUUM
In the Roman Catholic tradition, ‘triduum” refers to the three central days of Easter: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter itself, recalling that Easter begins with the vigil mass on Saturday night (the Catholic liturgical calendar follows Jewish custom: day follows night, as the Jewish sabbath begins at sundown on Friday).
I wrote this poem during Easter, 2009, and it is meant as an Easter poem, although I’ve already pointed out that my own Catholicism is very pantheistic: I find it easier to find God in nature than in my fellow man, although I am also strongly influenced by the sacraments and the liturgical calendar.
Easter, 2009, was the Easter I first experienced Dragon Run. As the poem notes, Dragon Run is a river/cypress swamp that forms the border between Middlesex and Gloucester counties in Virginia.
Becky and I had just had a floating dock attached to our standing dock, during the Holy Thursday section of the poem. As I say, the floating dock is a hedge against old age. Becky had had a serious accident which ended with her heel having to be fused. The doctor strongly advised her to stop using ladders, which is how we had been getting in and out of our kayaks. The floating dock with an attached kayak launcher extended our kayaking days.
But it’s with the Good Friday sequence that I really move into the Easter season. The ospreys were coming back to the Bay that season after falling to low numbers. I comment that their existence is as precarious as our own. Birds, fish, animals, people, we are one family in the flux of nature, existing as best we can, even in the darkness of Good Friday and the coming of climate change.
Saturday we paddled Dragon Run for the first time. The reference to Run past Eve and Adam is an allusion to the opening of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. The Liffey for Joyce was a primal force which takes full center at the end of the book (BTW, Eve and Adam’s was a pub where priests said clandestine mass during the penal years when the English forbade the public saying of mass). Our first trip did end in darkened skies with wind and rain, but we took out under a canopy of spring trees.
I commented earlier that Easter really begins on Saturday evening with the vigil mass, but Easter Sunday is still Easter. That Easter Sunday was a cool bright day, but too windy to go out into the open bay, so we set off from our new dock for the safety of the marsh. The bay would wait for another Easter.