Silence course – outside
Yesterday I showed you the house and grounds where I stayed for my silence course. Today, I thought you might like to see a bit more of the surrounding area – it’s certainly worth a look!
Out of the main gate of Florence House and up the road towards the golf course is the footpath that takes you to either the beach or the cliffs. It’s only a short climb up the hill to the point where the path splits to go up or down, but even from there the view is enough to make me smile.
Let’s go down to the beach first. It’s a beautiful sunny morning, only just around nine o’clock. I’ve had breakfast and am feeling content with the world.
One of the things about being in silence is that you notice what’s going on around you more. As your mind quietens down, you find yourself seeing things that might never have paid too much attention to before. Take the beach, for example. It’s a shingle beach and the stones crunch satisfying under my feet. Up at the top of the beach, the stones are small and quite gritty …
but further down they’re proper pebbles.
We can buy stones like these in bags from the garden centre, but they’re not stones that we have on the beaches at home. It reminds me how the geology of the country changes from one place to another. I love how they shine when they’re wet. I want to take pocketfuls of them away with me, but I know they wouldn’t look the same once I got them home and they belong on the beach. It’s nice to feel the weight of them in my hand, though.
Today the sky is clear blue and the sea is calm. I like the noise it makes as the waves crash against the pebbles, swirling them around as the waves go in and out. There’s a type of yoga breathing that we do on the course called Ujjayi breathing, and a room full of people breathing together in this way sounds just like the waves on the beach. It’s very calming.
I get to walk to the beach every day if I want to during the course. Sometimes the weather is not so calm; although the sun is shining the sea is a churning grey colour and hurls the waves against the jetty. I never get tired of watching the sea and how it changes from day to day and even moment to moment.
And then the weather brightens again and the sun breaks through the clouds …
lighting up the row of colourful beach huts …
and turning the stones red as the water makes lacy patterns on the beach. I’ve got to move my feet smart-ish a few times as I’m so busy watching the water that I’m in danger of getting wet!
I could walk for miles along this beach, but it’s almost time to turn back.
Past the boats pulled up high against the winter tides and we’ve just got time to head for the cliffs.
The cliffs are at the other end of the beach. The golf course is built next to the cliff path – if I were a golfer I’m not sure I would enjoy the climb after my ball! We’re going up to the top. Up, up, up … the path is slippery at this time of year and I wish I’d brought my walking boots instead of scrambling in my trainers. Half way up, I stop to admire the cliffs. We could only be in the south of England with cliffs that colour.
This is looking back down towards the beach. We were down there just a few minutes ago, can you see where we walked along the pebbles?
The sun is low at this time of year. It looks like a huge ball rising out of the water.
And here we are at the top. It’s a dizzying drop to the bottom, and apart from a few “cliff edge” notices, there’s nothing to stop a golf ball (or you) going over the edge. I certainly wouldn’t want to let my dog off his lead up here, he’s daft enough to take a flying leap!
The course session will be starting again soon so it’s time to make our way back to the house. A last look along the horizon to see yet more white cliffs. Seaford Head is part of the Vanguard Way, a 66 mile route from Croydon to Newhaven following the path in front of us.
It’s been so nice to be able to spend so much time out of doors. I always maintain that fresh air has a magic all of it’s own, but a combination of fresh air and such beautiful scenery is something very special indeed.