Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. People who practice the Catholic religion go to Mass and receive ashes on their forehead as a sign of repentance. Last year I pondered whether I should leave the black cross on my forehead or wash it off when I went to work. In the end I left it, and I saw no reason not to do the same thing today.
This morning the sun was shining and I decided to walk to church. A half-hour before the start of 8:30 Mass I changed my pants and put on my tennis shoes. According to the forecast the day was going to warm up nicely, so instead of my winter coat I grabbed a heavy jacket. Because the top of the jacket is loose-fitting, I also wrapped a long silk scarf around my neck to keep the breeze out. I was glad I did; there was still a brisk nip in the air. However, except for my fingers and ears I was OK.
The walk took 20 minutes, and I made a stop by the bathroom before I found a seat, but I still had a few minutes to meditate before the opening hymn. This was an all-school mass, so all the students from the parish elementary school were there. The service ran a bit long, so I had to hustle on the way home. It was warmer now, and at the halfway point I unbuttoned my jacket. A couple of minutes later I loosened the scarf around my neck. As I was turning into my subdivision, I actually felt a tiny bit of perspiration forming on my forehead. I used my hand to wipe it off, and when I saw my black fingers I realized I'd wiped the ashes off, too.
When I got home I looked at myself in the mirror. There was an inch-wide black streak that extended completely across my forehead. I went ahead and wiped the rest off. We'll see what next year brings.
Five years ago today: New Thing #33--Fueled by Ramen