Solemnly approaching the cliff edge, I was acutely aware of my insignificance as I peered out from the cliff face out towards the vast expanse of Heaven and Ocean. The gentle wind and sound of waves breaking were my only companions. There are times when words can not delve into the depths of one’s heart and soul. Somehow Dostoyevsky’s words “Beauty will save the World”, reflecting a loving God as manifested in the majestic beauty and gift of Creation resonated with vivid clarity. The calmness of the ocean, seemed to reflect the peace and serenity in one’s life, contrasted sharply with the turbulent clouds representing life’s many challenges and tribulations that one experiences in the deep valley of our struggles. Our lives at times seem vulnerable, an isolated island within a vast Ocean of despair. Nevertheless, the light piercing the clouds and illuminating Creation is the unconditional, unwavering love and mercy of Christ, walking with us amidst the storm, truly beautiful to behold. Words dear to me echoed within the depths of my heart.
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Walking along by the cobblestone road, I pondered the elegantly designed and colourful medieval buildings, germanic in design yet beautifully arrayed in Mediterranean colours. Turning the corner, I entered the main road; the transformation was amazing to behold, as I suddenly stumbled across numerous cafes, trade shops and street vendors selling everything from tulips to German sausages, much to my delight on a cold winters day. Walking through beautiful cobblestone streets, while dodging cyclists, avoiding trams and being careful not to fall into the Bächle or small water canals spread throughout the inner city, one is delighted by the numerous examples of Classical Romanesque-Gothic architecture. The thought of how a medieval city could suddenly instantly transform itself into a cosmopolitan Bazaar, never ceasing to amaze instantly made me smile.
Ascending the steep narrow road that led to the summit, I paused in silence, and looked up towards the town church, whose white walls were beautifully contrasted against the sky. It seemed as though a majestic hand had cast a magnificent blue veil across Heaven itself, such was its beauty. I looked heavenwards with childlike joy as the evening light illuminated the picturesque town and the smell of wood fires with on a cold winters day manifested an air of nostalgia. Suddenly I smiled, remembering the winding roads and pathways meandering into the heart of the town with its little footbridges over the Kander River. Walking through the town centre, I recalled vibrantly coloured and adorned buildings, and charming artisan stores delightful to behold. I spent many long moments experiencing the beautiful scenery that unfolded before me; the church, sky and forested hills surrounding this beautiful town, in a loving embrace.
Looking yonder, admiring the brilliant forested green hills plunging into the valley below, wisps of smoke gently climbed heavenwards from chimneys and ice capped tiled roofs. The smell of wood fires permeated the air, while the singing of birds heralded sunrise. The serene picturesque town slept quietly on this cold winter day, nestled in the loving embrace of the valley. As the fog began to lift, the tall church spire towering over the brightly coloured buildings complemented beautifully the surrounding landscape. I turned around and continued climbing. Approaching the wooded hilltop at the footsteps of the Black Forest I paused to rest, admiring the beauty of my surrounds; suddenly, a scurrying sound from above, disturbed my reverie. Scanning the tall beech trees, I discovered to my delight a red squirrel with long tufted ears and bushy tail leaping nimbly from tree to tree. I paused for a long time deep in thought, smiling. My only companions, the morning song of birds and a proud acrobatic red squirrel. It truly was a beautiful and peaceful day.
Walking along the narrow cobblestone street I paused before an old wooden brown door decorated with cast iron adornments. Unperturbed, I pushed the door, which groaned heavily and proceeded up the dimly lit passageway. The sound of people walking in the street dwindled as I wound my way up a narrow ancient corridor, until arriving at an archaic stairwell. I looked up in wonder at the winding staircase; the yellow glow along the walls was penetrated by the gentle blue of the sky breaking through in the distant heights. The walls had faded, and the multitude of cracks permeated their surface forming a historical tapestry. Every line seemed to manifest a mysterious tale centuries old, dating from the renaissance period. The simplistic beauty of this stairwell kept me transfixed for a long time, yearning for a distant era, alive within the depths of my imagination.
The narrow village paths lined with colourful restaurants and intricate bouquets adorning the decaying medieval walls, straddled the main stream meandering through the centre of this picturesque town nestled at the footsteps of the Alps. The surrounding landscape, comprising a ring of forested mountains and complemented by a crystal clear lake embraced this medieval paradise. Centuries old towns with cobblestone streets, ramparts, archaic castles and cathedrals from the medieval and renaissance periods unique to European were truly fascinating to behold. Exotic buildings and streets with colourful facades, magnificent cathedrals and richly decorated buildings connected by secret passageways plunges one literally into the tales and story books of ones childhood. Flamboyant characters such as Molière and D’Artagnan suddenly come to life. France manifests architectural sophistication and elegance, a rich diverse and vibrant culture and is blessed with geographical beauty renown throughout the world.
Walking along the narrow cobblestone street I paused before an old wooden brown door decorated with cast iron adornments. “I wonder what lay beyond?”. I had heard tales of merchants who long ago had used hidden passages to transport their expensive wares through the heart of the city. Unperturbed and filled with the excitement of the unknown I pushed the door which groaned heavily and proceeded up the dimly lit passageway. The sound of people walking in the street dwindled as I wound my way up a narrow ancient corridor; the walls on either side had faded, cracks had wound a tapestry on either side. Light began to suffuse the corridor which opened up into a picturesque courtyard. The combination of rich colours, green plants crawling along walls, beautiful archaic facades and doors plunged one back into an era long ago. Turning around in wonder I suddenly paused. A magnificent red tower, elegantly framed with arched windows and a spiral stone staircase rose up into the sky. The passage of time had merely added to its beauty.