Wednesday, August 29, 2012

YES to the Spirit and the Mystery ( Part 2 )

It has been raining pretty much all morning and now into the afternoon, we are wet, and as we ascend to the top of The Tor, whose peak reaches 521 feet, we are becoming more and more aware of the wind. The wind is almost as strong as the views are spectacular.

When we reach the summit, we are met with the sight of a woman meditating and another woman circling around her with a singing bowl, best not to disturb them in ritual, so we circle around to another vantage point.

I am in love with the English countryside, and my breath is taken away as I gaze around me.

Now that we are here and have snapped some photo's and oohed and awed we decide it's high time to eat a very well deserved lunch. We choose a spot within the tower to sit and we eat our lunch in gratitude while enjoying a Grandmother reading the history plaque to the children.

This is especially entertaining as she reads the last sentence with dramatic flare: "The monastic church of St. Michael, closely associated with the great abbey in the town below, fell into ruin after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, when Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury, was hanged on the Tor".
The kids gasp, and then exclaim: "Coooooool".
It does not escape us that only a few feet from where we sit and eat our picnic is the site of a death caused by King Henry's greed.

Once back down on Magdalene Street, we are waiting at a bus stop (in the rain) and meet some older gentlemen who we had met at The Tor: "The Canadians!" they shout out in greeting as they spot us. We are on our way to the neighboring town of Wells, so are they. We chat for a while as we wait for the bus. They are from Bath and are excited about the Rio carnival that is supposed to go through Bath the following day. They are under the impression there could be some nudity. We are entertained thoroughly by their wit and are grateful for their hospitality as they take time away from their pub and bread pudding time to guide us towards where we are headed, the Wells Cathedral.

I have heard this described as England's most beautiful Church. I'm not certain that phrase does it justice. From the outside you are literally welcomed by the building. The sculptures set into the front facade all hold their hands in sign of welcome:

Inside, we make a donation to the upkeep of this incredible place. It takes roughly £4000 per day to maintain this site. We also have to purchase a photography permit for £3. This is money well spent. We slowly walk into the Cathedral we are met with the ethereal voices of the choir warming up for Evensong. We really could not have come at a better time. The singing, the architecture, the atmosphere, the way this ancient building has found a way to let in the light, it is all so moving.

I sit alone while Mom goes to view the world's second oldest working clock.

I am not a person that is convinced of the notion of Divinity. I don't rule it out either. I tend to describe my philosophy as a belief in the Spirit of humanity. As I marvel at this Cathedral that retains it's power to strike awe into the hearts of those who enter it's arches more than 800 years after i's conception, I need to acknowledge that something powerful compelled these people to build such beauty.

Mom and I are both tempted to stay for Evensong, but we also want to make certain we see the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Somewhat saddened, we make the decision to leave the Cathedral, but not before a quick stroll down Europe's oldest complete medieval street, connected to the Cathedral, Vicar's Close:

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