My doctor advised me to rest, not talk.  How does someone who spends their working life on a phone do that?  I even pray out loud! I’ve signed up for a silent retreat in October – the source of much mirth and wonder among my friends but the quiet reflective bit of me that I would really rather not show too often is secretly looking forward to it.  So this is a bit of a cheat – here’s what I wrote the last time I did one of these strange things.

In silence, I notice the ruby red fur on a cow’s back and its curly ginger eyelashes. Hunting owls provide surround sound to head torch beach walks.  My retreat guide smiles as I park my boots and attend sessions in thick socks.  I walk my praying, sitting by the sea, high up on a cliff: I like to pray aloud.

In silence, people have odd breakfasts: toast, plastered in marmite, so I have grapefruit, yogurt and the bits that normally go with bacon and sausage – which seem to have escaped the menu.  I’m noticing faces more: calm ones, easy read ones, poker players, those whose noses don’t leave their book.  I don’t feel badly dressed wearing my “not all who wander are lost” T shirt. My breakfast neighbour has flamboyant shirts – they cheer my mornings.

In silence, I paddle in icy rock pools, slide on my backside down wet rock. Get a coffee fix in Lynton that’s a real live “word from God”, see a kestrel preening on a post – amd have only God to share it with.  Take photos of fungi, get hopelessly lost (see T shirt) climb over gates and wire.  In short I have fun – it beats being at work.  Well, mostly, I miss the usual “doing stuff”

In silence, I sleep, and soak in woodland colours and feel the centre of me fill up again like a dry aquifer refilling.  It’s peaceful here.  The peace is inside too.  But outside is the storm. I hear God speak to me through biblical “Job” out the storm, the whirlwind, the Lord answered Job.  And me.



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