This morning there were two peculiar events happening simultaneously in the street outside my office. I was happily working away when I noticed some bizarre shouting a little further down the street. It’s not uncommon to hear the occasional shouting outside, but it is usually only for a few brief moments. This person, however, was very persistent and in the end my curiosity got the better of me and I had to look through the window.
I couldn’t see the source of the shouting though, but what I did see wasn’t exactly what I expected!!
Across the street (outside a shop) I see two priests (not sure if they were – but they were dressed that way) each holding a sceptre. They were surrounded by approximately 30 – 40 people with wooden sticks!!
At this point my mind is struggling to keep up with what is going on and more specifically; “What do they need all these sticks for??”.
The shouting further down the street is still going on at this point and briefly I did wonder if the “shouter” was part of this whole outfit!
I gave up trying to concentrate on doing any further work and decided to go and investigate at least the source of the shouting, as this was the main cause of my distraction.
This turned out to be a woman, who obviously had things to say and for some reason wanted to make sure that her message reached as many people as possible!
It was difficult to make out exactly was she was ranting on about but I did pick out words like “Love” – “God” – “Peace” with some words in between I really couldn’t make out! The way the message(s) was delivered, however, didn’t appear as being revolved around feelings of love or peace, but I am sure she just felt passionate about getting her message across and that I misinterpreted it that way.
The interesting thing about observing this wasn’t so much the woman doing the shouting but the reactions of passers by, which ranged from some people being so caught up in their own world that they didn’t even notice what was going on, to people stopping to exchange comments (with various reactions in between the 2).
The people people who stopped to exchange comments were the most interesting to watch simply because; here we have a number of complete strangers who will possibly never cross paths again, and yet because of this woman they chose to stop briefly to find some common ground! Most of them agreed that she was obviously crazy and should be locked away! I even heard one guy say “where do you find a sniper when you need one”, which I hope wasn’t meant that way but did make me side with her.
Even more interesting was the fact that everyone kept a “safe” distance from her, even as they were walking past. It was as if there was an invisible wall around her. I suspect her invisible wall was everyone else’s comfort zone.
One guy did walk up to her very calmly and said something to her, which only stopped her shouting for a split second. She then began to tell everyone that smoking cigarettes was the worst sin of all (the guy was smoking a cigarette) at which point he walked away as calmly as he had approached her.
I was awoken from what seemed like a dream by my phone and had to go back to work. When I got back to my office, all the people with sticks had disappeared and all of a sudden I didn’t hear the shouting anymore.
I went about my day and it wasn’t until I got home earlier this evening that I started thinking about the whole event. If somehow I was meant to have observed it and if so why?
My initial thought, when I first went out to find out where the shouting came from, was that she was a nutter, but then I began to wonder what sequence of events would lead someone to the point where shouting in the street seemed like the most appropriate action. Whatever message she wanted to deliver was without a doubt extremely important to her. That thought made me feel compassion towards her and that she had every right to express herself that way. She was causing no harm to anyone and I am left hoping that she finds peace and joy.
As far as the “stick crowd” is concerned, I have no clue what the hell they were up to! So again my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to google it! Guess what, I found the answer! It’s an event called “Beating the Bounds” At least now I know what they are doing when I see them next year!!!!
The ceremony of ‘Beating the Bounds’ is conducted on Ascension Day, which is celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter. This custom, which began way back in 1498, involves a procession of people who walk around the city. During this march, they halt by certain trees, fences and walls that denote the boundary of a particular area to vociferate, pray and ‘beat the bounds’. The day ends with a celebration with drinks and merry making.
These two events could have been nothing more than a coincidence where I just happened to be there. If I was meant to observe this strange sequence of events I really don’t know why at this point but if it was nothing more than a coincidence then why did I think about it this evening and why did I write about it.