As an act of Lenten self-abasement I hearby swear not to node between 9am and 6pm for the next forty days and forty nights. I'm installing a lightening conductor for those moments of weakness.

In my youth the annual ritual of self-denial during Lent was a competitive thing. My siblings and I would wage war with our sweet tooth cravings in the hope that our fast would last the longest. No one ever made it to Easter without a transgression. Somehow this had nothing to do with the Catholic idea of achieving grace through] abstention.

I used to go to church every morning before school with my mother. I used to like the still calm of that place. The brisk sermon delivered by the padre. It was a haven for me away from my rumbunctious schoolmates.

On Ash Wednesday a oily smidgen of ash would be deposited on my forehead (holding hair carefully back) by the priest.

Now I make no time for those things and this non-noding vow is my attempt to recapture something. Something I may have lost.