I’m on leave this week. This has partly meant chilling at home, but it has also meant getting out and about. My string of posts on Monday were all uploaded whilst sitting in the cafe in the Mediterranean biome at the Eden project. Today involved encouraging Wee One, playing her new favourite character of “recalcitrant teenager” to a tee, round the house and grounds of Buckland Abbey. We had hoped to possibly bump into friends who live close to Buckland but they were busy trekking around the heart of Dartmoor (on the edge of which Buckland sits). And why am I telling you all this?
Well, because I have to admit to how blessed I feel at having been stationed to this part of the world. Even in my darkest moments, and there have been some over the past 7 months, the local scenery has been a blessing. The scenery around here is incredibly varied, and incredibly accessible. Whether country estates owned by the National Trust, like Cotehele, Buckland Abbey and Antony, beaches like Whitsand or Downderry and Seaton, harbourside villages and towns like Cawsand and Kingsand, or Looe, riverside villages and hamlets like St Germans, Forder and Antony Passage, nature reserves like Churchtown Vale in Saltash, or vast wildernesses like Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor, it is all within either walking distance or a drive of no more than 30 minutes – or a not unreasonable bike ride, of course!
I spent my childhood in the rural idylls of Shropshire and mid-Somerset, enjoying it but crying out for the exciting life of the big city. I have since lived in the centre of two very different cities (Liverpool and Cambridge) and worked in two different parts of London (Regents Park and central Croydon). There are certainly parts of city life I now miss (like easy access to coffee shops, for example, and being able to walk to a vast range of shops, and a vast range of cultural activities), but the local scenery more than makes up for this. Whenever I head out to the many activities I am called upon to attend the local scenery always amazes me in some way or another. Even in the worst of weather (and we’ve still had no snow in Saltash) the views can be stunning.
The past 7 months have brought many challenges, some of which I will no doubt reflect upon in future posts, but through it all the Cornish (and Devon) countryside has reminded me of the wonder of God’s glory and of God’s blessings in my life. Whatever else it might also occasionally be, it is a great privilege to serve God and the people in this wonderful, breath-taking and beautiful part of his creation.
Whatever the scenery in your life at the moment, travel well.