The day began at 10:00 with the usual coffee and chat, Esther's first talk ran from 10:40 until 11:50 with a five minute break in between, after which there was a half hour meditation for those who wished to take part. It was quite something to be in a room of well over fifty people, sitting in silence and "Holding oneself still before the gaze of God" ( Esther de Waal) My friend and I attempted to eat our lunch outside in the gardens but when the Lake District rain became a little more persistent, we wandered back inside.
Esther's talk in the afternoon highlighted the many similarities between Benedictine and Celtic spirituality as in essence they are both a "weaving of prayer in daily living", one by the call to pray at regular intervals throughout the day and night, interspersed with work, rest and eating; the other making a tapestry of grace filled moments as each task is completed around the hearth and home.
Whilst the second meditation session began, I took my camera for a prayer walk and the joy it brought me in focusing in the tiniest detail and capturing the beauty on a wet autumn day, was pure balm for my soul and a very gift from heaven above:
My walk began here.
Past the angel on guard...
... the colourful foliage and ...
... the rain soaked leaves.
Listening to the water crashing against the rocks.
Walking through an inviting tunnel...
... and finding this place, I wonder what is behind the door ...
... a thunderous noise and an amazing sight, I must take a closer look...
Back on the trail.
Saying good bye.
By now it was time to meet my friend and make our way back to the car but not before admiring a special unexpected treat I had discovered on my wanderings:
And then as we wandered past the tee rooms and headed down the hill, what should we spy but a woodland walk full of weavings and wood carvings!
This one had truly become part of the landscape as you can see the lichen growing through the weaving!
A coat for a tree complete with...
... stone buttons!
A lasting image and a peaceful heart.