Wandering along the seashore, I smiled as my feet marked out a path of desolate footprints along the fine brown sand; the waters of the flowing river lapped gently at my feet. I smiled with childlike innocence and joy as the sun’s warmth coursed through my body. All alone, surrounded by the beauty of nature I experienced an immense sense of peace well within me. Slowly looking up towards heaven itself, I was seized by the sheer beauty of what lay before me. The sound of flowing water coursing towards the ocean mingled with the soft wind that gently caressed my face, manifesting a heavenly chorus. The pure white clouds spreading their celestial beauty across Heaven struck a deep chord within my soul. Standing in reverent silence, I was humbled before such magnificence, rejoicing at the providence of God and His amazing outpouring of love expressed in His Creation. Deep within my the depths of my soul, the psalmists words echoed with profound clarity.
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
Alone perched upon a ragged boulder I looked out towards the ocean, oblivious to the waves which menacingly splashed around me. It was if a sea of white foam coursed all around, engulfing everything in its path and then retreating albeit hesitantly into the depths of the Ocean. The winds danced wildly amidst the boulders rising occasionally into a crescendo in harmony with the sound of waves splashing around me. I was all alone yet an inner peace gripped my soul, awesome to behold. There are moments of sheer beauty when one must pause and be silent, for only in silence can one even dare to contemplate true beauty. A silence which commands our every sense and manifests the magnificence of Creation in all its splendour. I sat in silence for long moments; deep from within my mind, heart and soul resonated the words of the psalmist with profound truth and power …“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
As I climbed along the coastal cliffs, skirting the summit and disappeared over a cluster of huge outcrop of boulders, I was immediately overcome by the sheer beauty of the ocean stretching in every direction. Mounting a massive boulder with childlike enthusiasm, oblivious to the sheer drop, I looked out towards the seacoast and vast mysterious ocean. Standing upright, I stretched out my hands and closed my eyes; suddenly, the wind buffeted me wildly wrapping around my body in a rough embrace. I cried out in exhilaration, magnificent rocky slopes, ocean and heaven lay before me; outstanding beautiful and awesome to behold. At that instant I experienced pure joy, rejoicing in the sheer beauty of Creation. It was a moment of inspiration, gratitude and peace born of love. Words are a mere tears in rain, compared to that which touched the essence of my being. I paused, deep in thought at the beauty that unfolded before me. I felt at peace, my heart was at ease and my soul rejoiced. Then, the words “Heaven on Earth” echoed within the depths of my soul as I recalled the psalmists words.
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)
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 the town. A ring of forested mountains complemented by a crystal clear lake embraced this medieval picturesque town huddled within the footsteps of the Alps. Centuries old towns with cobblestone streets, ramparts, archaic castles and cathedrals from the medieval and renaissance periods with colourful facades and hidden passageways plunged one literally into the tales and story books of ones childhood. Flamboyant characters such as Molière and D’Artagnan suddenly came to life, manifesting the sophistication and elegance of French Culture.
Crossing the busy road, I walked briefly up a narrow path before suddenly turning right. The transition was amazing to behold. An archaic cobblestone street opened up into a beautiful square. Ornate Renaissance buildings complete with antiquated wooden iron gilded doors plunged me into a bygone era. A beautiful fountain caught my attention. Moving slowly towards it, oblivious to the sounds around me I gazed at the depiction of “The Baptism of Christ by St. John the Baptist”. The solemnity and reverence in the statues’ expressions struck a chord in my heart. For long moments I gazed upon the figure of Christ, He whom I loved most and reflected on the most beautiful manifestation of sacrifice and pure love. Eventually I turned away and was greeted by a most beautiful facade. The cobblestone street gave way paying homage to a large archaic wooden door magnificently framed by multiple roman arches, a reminder of Lyon’s glorious past.
The large obscure wooden door adorned with cast iron decorations seemed barely visible in the quiet cobblestoned street. Filled with wonder and thirst for adventure, I pushed the door which groaned heavily and proceeded up the dimly lit passageway. The walls on either side had faded; the passage of time had allowed cracks to weave a wonderful tapestry. It was dark and quiet however as I continued walking up this narrow winding corridor; suddenly light began to suffuse the corridor which opened up into a picturesque courtyard. A wonderful combination of colours decorating old doors, blue stone floors beautiful archaic fountains and facades caused me to marvel at the simplistic beauty of the picturesque courtyard before me, bathed in the morning light. The gentle sound of music, serene and beautiful made me yearn for an era long ago.
Walking along the narrow cobblestone, I suddenly paused before an archaic wooden door filled with wonder. I reminisced about old tales of merchants using hidden passages to transport their expensive wares through the heart of the city. Filled with the excitement 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 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. Plants desperately clinging along decaying 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.