During the past few days we, Rev. Alicia and I, have been staying in a cottage in the grounds of Mount Grace Priory on the edge of the North York Moors. The Priory, now in ruins, was once a fully functioning Carthusian Monastery. There were 15 individual cells/mini houses, each with a small garden, all set around a vast open cloister. There was a substantial monastic infrastructure to support the handful of monks living the silent life of prayer. It is incredible to me that people lived as those monks lived back then. It was not an easy life, though something of a privileged one.
Since the Priory hasn’t been open to the public this week we have had the grounds all to ourselves. I’ve enjoyed sitting on a bench close to the one restored cell with a mug of tea. Wandering around generally and pondering this and that but mostly just sitting down and appreciating being here. Ah the tranquillity! Yes, something of the feel of this place lingers on even though the main A road close by funnels considerable traffic noise into the Priory grounds. All that those monks of old would have heard would have been the rattle of cart wheels!
Each day we have travelled to local towns to visit estate agents to see what they have on their books. We saw a couple of slightly suitable properties. However since we are RE-searching, rather than searching, property and simply getting a feel for the area we’ve not felt pressured to purposefully hunt. After describing the kind of thing we are interested in one estate agent told us brightly we were looking for hens teeth! To be frank North Yorkshire isn’t looking promising for a variety of reasons and if it is hens teeth we are after, so be it. At this stage we remain open minded as to location and intend to do more research in other areas.
As we have left in the morning we’ve had to join the fast moving A road traffic at the end of the minor road where the Priory is sited. The cars and lorries are belting along and choosing the right gap between vehicles to step on the accelerator to merge with the traffic has been a bit nerve-wracking. Returning to our haven of relative tranquillity requires another test of nerve and judgment. This time slowing from 60mph to zero in a very short distance and then cutting across two lanes of fast moving traffic. Judging the speed of oncoming vehicles and choosing the right moment to cross is testing.
In daily life I’m accustomed to stepping on it, merging with the traffic and keeping going through my day – weeks, months and years if I care to reflect. Keeping one’s foot on the accelerator when it is wise, and necessary, to slow down and stop can be a habit which is hard to acknowledge. Let alone do something about addressing. Few of us can go from 60 mph to zero with grace. There has to be a measured slowing down which may be as nerve-wracking as our driving adventures of the past few days.
Daily living asks of us to move out into activity and move in for repose. With practice this is one movement. Not two.