Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From ‘A time to keep Silence’ by Patrick Leigh Fermor

To every thing there is a season and a
time to every purpose under heaven …
… a time to keep silence and a time to speak.
                        Ecclesiastes: III, 1 & 7

…..the recollectedness and clarity of spirit that accompany the silent monastic life. For, in the seclusion of a cell – an existence whose quietness is only varied by the silent meals, the solemnity of ritual and long solitary walks in the woods – the troubled waters of the mind grow still and clear, and much that is hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the surface and can be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a state of peace that is unthought of in the ordinary world.

….the ruined abbeys of England that have remained desolate since the Reformation will always be the most moving and tragic…. They emerge in the fields like the peaks of a vanished Atlantis drowned four centuries deep……It is as though some tremendous Gregorian chant has been interrupted hundreds of years ago to hang there petrified at its climax since.

A friend in Paris had told me that St Wandrille was one of the oldest and most beautiful Benedictine Abbeys in France….

The anthem was followed by a long stillness which seemed to be scooped out of the very heart of sound.

‘Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.’
-          Miriam Beard

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