Cornwall Cogitation #1 Saturday 4 February 2017 “Go Cornwall!” said a little voice in my ear. “Cornwall’s calling. Go.”
Soon we shall.
How to get there and settle in. Take a plane to London. From Paddington Station take the Great Western Railway to St Erth. Transfer to the branch line for an 11-minute ride along the Atlantic Ocean to St Ives. Get off at the Carbis Bay stop. Walk four minutes uphill to the Compass Point Apartment complex. A bit farther on turn right and go down a few steps to Ahoy There! You’re home. Unpack. Stretch. Put the kettle on.
There’s a pub in Lelant, a mile and a half away. Walk there for dinner. If you’re lucky, Elvis, the Great Dane, will be in the bar to welcome you. There’ll be wood burning in the fireplace. The little voice whispers, “For a moment everything is all right. You’re walking freshness back into your life. You are back at a beginning. You can do this.”
The voice continues: “Walk. Visit. Cook. Worship. Use your library card. Watch Doc Martin on ITV and Pointless on BBC. Entertain. Read newspapers. Go to Evensong at Truro Cathedral. Pray. Catch up with friends at St Anta & All Saints Church. Get acquainted with new people. Rejoin walks with the West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society. Write. Haunt bookstores. Buy daffodils. Take part in a study group or conference. Attend a play or concert. Welcome visitors. Visit the Penlee Art Gallery and Museum and other such fine places. Bite into Granary bread with soup. Have a pint. Reconnect with the butcher and green grocer. Eat fish. Heave ho! You’re home. Sleep well.”
On May 7, 2016 I wrote in a card I sent home, “Three reasons to return: 1. People. 2. Place. 3. Paths. Amen.”
Good words on walking. Walking slows you down. Gandhi said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Shakespeare said, “Now my soul hath elbow room.” William Blake said, “Improvement makes straight roads, but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.” Same holds true for the paths we walk in Cornwall. Robert Bridges said, “And as I turn me home, / My shadow walks before.” John 12:35,36 says, “Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. . . . While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”
Part of what these quotes communicate is that being out in God’s creation connects us to a fuller, deeper, higher world, a world that God loves and cares about and welcomes the same from us.
My starting point in life is that God’s kingdom, even in less than full form, is present here and now. I rejoice that I am part of that kingdom and that I will know its mystery revealed when my time on earth is done. I believe in the light dimly revealed now and in its full revelation to come. Faith is that force that shapes my soul. Amen.
Views from the week
A few words on writing
If the name E.B. White (1899-1985) doesn’t ring a bell, the titles of the children’s books he wrote might: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). These works explore themes of loyalty, tolerance, and rural living. One source said, “They have become for many young readers unforgettable guides into the world of fiction.”
I treasure the Struck & White book, The Elements of Style. White wrote, “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” Further, “If one is to write, one must believe in the truth and worth of the scrawl, in the ability of the reader to receive and decode the message. No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.”
This leading American essayist and literary stylist of his time, advised, “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary part.”
My writing career, as in paid employment, began in 1969. My boss for a number of my “salad days” was Boyd Nelson. From Boyd I learned the mantra, “Communication is a function of relationships.” It’s not about tricks, one-way messages, or worming one’s way into a relationship. Communication is about grasping shared meanings.
So I’ve had the privilege to write, write, write during my years of gainful employment. I still do, though now on my own terms. This blog is one of those writing pleasures–and disciplines. Retirement opens a new chapter, I’ve heard said many times. I’ve had nine years worth of chapters and anticipate more in these years of re-firement.
On, acts of faith!