Pausing by the footpath, I surveyed the centuries old road before me, disappearing into the distance beneath a beautiful classical arch bathed in sunlight. Surprisingly I stood there all alone, dimly aware of the distant clicking of someones shoes on the cobblestones. The temporary flash of a lady and her black coat swishing hurriedly across the street on a cold winters momentarily broke my reverie. Simplicity and elegance within the diverse architecture reflected a bygone era off cultural flair manifested in the splendid array of churches, statues and facades characteristic of this sophisticated and elegant city.
Waking long the narrow street meandering path, I was pleasantly surprised as it suddenly opened up into a wide thoroughfare. To my delight, a delightful scene unfolded before my very eyes. A radiant yellow window decorated with blue wooden panes set against red bouquets of flowers adorning window sills, contrasted brilliantly with the sandstone coloured archaic wall and blue tinged cobble stone street. I stood still admiring this elegant beautifully decorated facade. In childlike wonder I thought “What would life in this town been like?” In deep reverie, I imagined a time long past, where the sound of horses hooves plodding along the cobblestones mingled with the clamour of shop keepers bartering their wares, and peasants going about their daily chores, as travelling musicians enchanted their audiences with stories and tunes to soothe the soul.
Walking hurriedly through the city square, I skirted the narrow walkway dodging the pedestrians while simultaneously glimpsing the diversity of their facial expressions, something which never ceased to amaze me. The smell of cigarettes and croissants, mingled with the aroma of coffee and sound of traffic as the city stirred from its slumber. Suddenly, I found myself standing by a riverbank. The transition was amazing. On one side of the river, cafes, bookshops and artisans peddled their wares. In stark contrast, across the bridge, archaic buildings, with beautiful facades reflected the creative splendour of the Renaissance mysteriously lined the river.
The narrow village paths, lined with colourful restaurants and intricate bouquets adorned the decaying medieval walls, straddled the river meandering through the centre of this picturesque town. Nestled at the footsteps of the Alps, a ring of forested mountains, complemented by a crystal clear lake embraced this medieval paradise, lined with cobblestone streets, castles and cathedrals truly fascinating to behold. Exotic buildings and streets with colourful facades and richly decorated buildings connected by secret passageways plunged one literally into the tales and story books of ones childhood. I stood in a silent reverie as flamboyant characters such as Molière and D’Artagnan suddenly come to life.
Winding my way along the banks of the crystalline lake flanked by an adjacent park adorned with evergreen trees at the doorstep of this beautiful French alpine town, I came across a wrought iron bridge. Simple and stoic in architecture it nevertheless bore testimony to the elegant beauty of artisan creativity of the past. I walked slowly along this rather quaint bridge and paused in the middle. The cool autumn air was invigorating. Somewhere in the distance the call of birds permeated the air. I looked out yonder towards the canal that fed into the lake and observed the boats gently bobbing up and down gently as a line of pure white swans slowly swum upstream. In reverie, I pondered the beauty of silence and simplicity, a treasure often buried amidst the thick layer of dust of our everyday lives.
Walking hurriedly through the city square, I skirted the narrow walkway dodging the pedestrians while simultaneously glimpsing the diversity of their facial expressions, something which never ceased to amaze me. The smell of cigarettes and croissants, mingled with the aroma of coffee and sound of traffic as the city stirred from its slumber. I glanced up in the sky, noticing the soft radiant aura of sunrise and hastened quickly down the road, looking quickly left and right before madly dashing across the main thoroughfare. Suddenly, I found myself standing by a riverbank looking beyond a river of blue, fast flowing water towards the old city. The transition was amazing. As the sun’s rays cast forth their gentle light permeating the morning mist heralding sunrise, a myriad of vibrant colours illuminated the distant shoreline. Archaic buildings, resplendent with beautiful facades simplistically but elegantly ordained, created a truly picturesque scene, manifesting the creative splendour of the Renaissance.
Walking along the sea shore all alone, a sensation of peace mingled with excitement suddenly gripped me as I looked towards the horizon. Only a few brief moments of precious light remained whereby I could experience the sun setting. Quickly climbing atop a rugged boulder surrounded by water, I looked out towards the ocean, overawed by its beauty. I stood still, a lone insignificant silhouetted figure, with eyes closed and outstretched arms in supplication. The sound of the gentle wind and splashing of the waves upon the rocks melted away as I turned inwards to prayer, offering praise to God for His beautiful Creation. There are special moments when silence manifests such a profound presence that it penetrates the depths of one’s soul, where silence is suddenly filled with a presence, both powerful and pure to behold.
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)