When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;
For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love to fiddle,
And the merry love to dance;
And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With 'Here is the fiddler of Dooney!'
And dance like a wave of the sea.
– William Butler Yeats
It was our last day in Edinburgh, and we passed it in fine style – the Sunday morning liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Trinity saw the Folk Choir dispersed throughout the congregation, and when the songs began, the immense sound filled all the corners of that house of prayer. There were thanks bestowed on all, the St. Monica's Guild of Ladies to shake hands with (that small team of women camped out at church all week, brewing gallons of tea and keeping everyone happy with biscuits).
Finally, our hosts had found a generous benefactor, and that evening, all the main movers of our event: the host families, the parish council, the ecumenical council – in short the whole shebang of planners – headed out to the Corn Exchange for a ceilidh.
A ceilidh, if you can find a dictionary worth looking it up in, is a night of song and dance and merriment. And after all labors in this fine old city, it was only appropriate to dance and sing. So the fiddler lined up the choir, called out the steps, named the tunes, and in no time flat the hall was swirling with Americans and Scots, moving to the songs of the Isles.
The good are, always, the merry. And while we have worked very hard these days in Scotland, in the end we could do nothing but look back, breathless, as the dance steps carried us forward. Amidst the shouts and back slaps and hand clasps, merriment – the pure joy of life – was the final word among these wonderful parishioners.
Haste ye back. And we shall.