Monday, September 7, 2009

Orbs at St. Paul's

If your eye has wandered down this page, and you've seen the photo waiting for you at the end of the letter, well . . . you'll be wondering how I've the nerve to precede it with any pedestrian prose!
You're perfectly right. Words rarely enhance pictures, and, in this instance, words are completely unnecessary.
But, may I offer you a small touch of the ridiculous before you enjoy the sublime? Let me, at the very least, tell you just how I managed to take the photo.

A friend of mine is a member of the Esterhazy Singers, a choir that was invited to take part in Evensong at St. Paul's when the regular choir was on holiday. My friend wondered whether I'd like to attend the service.

I love St. Paul's . . . I'm also a great admirer of the Esterhazy Singers . . . and, well, you can guess the other thought that went through my mind. Might there, I wondered hopefully, be the slightest chance of photographing orbs in this superb setting?

Before the guest choir filed in, some of us, those who had arrived early for the service, were invited to occupy the remaining seats in the choir stalls.
I was delighted at this chance to participate from such a privileged viewpoint. However, there was no doubt that this move greatly diminished any chance of trying to take a photo afterwards. It would be almost impossible to take an unobtrusive photo whilst being chaperoned out of the choir stalls in procession.

The service was truly beautiful . . . the singing was glorious . . . a responsive and worshipful congregation added depth to the experience. The perfect setting, I thought wistfully, to attract the most wonderful orbs.
So . . . in between participating in the service and appreciating the singing, I hatched a cunning plan!

What if, instead of filing out of the choir stalls with everyone else, I could delay my departure a little?
What if I intentionally 'forgot' my handbag?

The service, which seemed all too short, was over. The choir had departed. Those of us remaining in the choir stalls rose to our feet and started to file out in their wake. Obediently, I shuffled out with the others . . . only to come to a halt as we approached the nave.
"Oh dear," I apologised to those on either side of me, "I seem to have forgotten my handbag . . . I'm afraid I'll have to go back . . . "

Smiling helpfully, they moved to one side, enabling me to return to the choir stall.
Seconds later . . . . there I was . . . alone in the chancel, able to retrieve my handbag and, at the same time, to take this snatched photo!

Now you can gaze, in peace, for as long as you like. Should cunning plans be rewarded? This one most certainly was!