I would have missed it, could have not noticed, if I’d kept my eyes closed and trodden very carefully. Or perhaps not gone into the town at all. But it was pretty obvious really. The aftermath.
The leaves and tree cuttings, my feet snagging on the debris; so I couldn’t help wondering, what did I miss here?
What had led to this mottled street carpet?
I knew Pilate had recently ridden through, with his usual posturing show of strength, Rome flexing its dominant muscles while the city was jammed with hopeful pilgrims, but that wasn’t about this. This was about something else. I could sense it. Something more ragged, less controlling, more colourful and vibrant, less about oppression and more about freedom. An open door. As if the windows of heaven had been thrown wide and God’s agenda were strewn across the pavements. I was so distracted I almost stumbled over a woman begging on a street corner.
‘What did I miss?’ I asked her.
She stared into the sun, frowned and sighed. ‘Oh just some guy on a baby donkey,’ she muttered. Then she chewed on her gums for a moment before adding. ‘It was strange, noisy, exciting. I had to cover my ears. People were shouting and singing so loud, and pointing to the guy on the donkey. He stopped and looked at me as he passed by and it felt as is God had forgotten himself for a moment and dropped down into the gutter here.’ She glanced at the space to her right. ‘Felt like he wanted to rest his head on my shoulder for a while.’ She patted the top of her stained robe. ‘There was a smell about him too, strong perfume, really strong, might have been nard. It was lovely. Seeing him, being here, it made my day.’
She smiled, pulled up her knees and hugged herself. I gave her a coin, stood up and walked on, stopping for a brief moment to scoop up a nearby palm branch.