Featured image: An Amish school in LaGrange County, Indiana. One of many. Scene from Friday.
Cogitation 3/181 Saturday 19 January 2019 It’s an easy step from our home in the US to our rental flat in the UK. We plan to be there in less than a month, home in the village of Carbis Bay, next to St Ives.
Anticipation, Ahoy There!
The easy part is the anticipation. It’s the step to journey’s-end my mind takes in covering the almost 4,200 miles (6,760 km) to get to home from home in Cornwall. Imagining I’m already there connects now to then, list of to-dos to check, check, check, the usual and the new in life across the pond.
I’m adapting a short statement by Joseph Stroud called Directions, which he wrote in anticipation of a visit to Yorkshire in northern England, whereas we’re going to the south west end of the country, County Cornwall, or as the Cornish sometimes point out, Duchy of Cornwall. We came across Directions in a memorable visit to Yorkshire in 2004.
Take a plane to London. From Paddington Station take the Great Western Railway to St Erth. Transfer to the branch line to Carbis Bay. On that 10-minute seaside ride gaze over sprawling Porthkidney Beach and St. Ives Bay to Godrevy Lighthouse. Alight at the Carbis Bay stop. Walk uphill–it’s only five minutes–to your rental flat, breathe in the Atlantic air. Welcome home!
Greet neighbors. Walk to the Cornish Arms. Cozy. The fireplace should be lit. Tomorrow you’ll walk to the Halsetown Inn. The fireplace will be lit. Lunch will be heavenly. The waitperson may even say, “You haven’t been here for a while.” Sweet. If surfing were my thing that alone would be reason enough to splash about Cornwall.
Stroud: “For a moment everything will be all right. You’re back at a beginning. . . . You’ll walk for hours. You’ll walk the freshness back into your life. This is true. You can do this.”
Even now, sitting in my home office, with this and that and the other thing to attend to, with snow falling, with the machinations of state here and across the pond, gridlocked, pitiful, blinkered like a horse, I can gaze across one of Cornwall’s Areas of Outstanding Beauty, imagine walking on the moors, through small fields, along the sea, connecting with the natural, physical and human world, working my life, as Stroud wrote, “step by step, into grace.”
Truro will be one place we’ll visit in the first couple weeks. We’ll travel there by train, a 45-minute journey, watching for the belted Galloway cows en route. We’ll do one or more of our favourite walks around and beyond the city, visit Tugboat, a coffee bean and loose tea shop, pop into Malletts Home Hardware for a look-around and maybe a coffee in their café, peer about wistfully in one of the used bookshops and at Waterstones, attend the incomparable Evensong at Truro Cathedral, then get a sandwich and crisps to eat on the train home.
Truro is the southernmost city in mainland Britain. It has an urban population of only 23,000. It is the administrative and commercial center of County Cornwall, home to Cornwall Council, The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro College, The Royal Cornwall Hospital, and Cornwall’s Courts of Justice. Maybe I’ll get to visit the latter this year–visitors’ gallery, please. Unfortunately, the live-stage complex, Hall for Cornwall, has been gutted and will be rebuilt in a project projected to take at least two years.
Another day we’ll go to Penzance, 12 miles away on the English Channel. A visit to the Penlee Gallery is a must. One day we’ll walk along the Promenade to Newlyn or Mousehole for lunch. In Newlyn we may pick up some fresh fish from a shop next to the docks.
Of course, we’ll “do” St Ives and the wonderful villages, gardens and historic sites out and about, patronize grocers, bake shops, the library, tea rooms, restaurants, join the walks of the West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society–maybe even lead one of the walks, cook, read, watch telly, and, oh yes, keep flowers on our table.
What makes Cornwall attractive for our winter/spring stay is the climate that brings out daffodils in January, paths that beckon, friends, cafes and pubs, church, galleries, fresh air, and as a friend back home in Indiana suggested this week, fog. Yes, I’ll welcome a spell of sea mist, even if it lasts a day or two.
In the meantime, I’ll make the most of snow and cold right here in Indiana, even as in my mind I glimpse working my life, step by step, into deeper grace.
This week’s gallery
Shipshewana, Indiana, yesterday
God’s steadfast presence gives me hope wherever I am. Peace. Joy. Grace.