Profound silence is not something we fall into casually. This may indeed happen, and a blessed happening it is, but normally we choose to set aside a time and place to enter spiritual quietness. (Those who never do this, or shrink from it, run a very grave risk of remaining half-fulfilled as humans.)
Craigie Aitchison’s View of Holy Island pares this choice down to its fundamental simplicities. Brown earth, blue sea, red sky, Holy Island a stony grey lit by glory.
There is a small ship to take us across, if we choose to ride in it.
There are no fudging elements here: all is clear-cut. This is not silence itself.
It is the desire for silence.
Silence being greater than the human psyche, cannot be compressed into our intellectual categories; it will always escape us.
But the desire to be silent, the understanding of the absolute need for it; this is expressed in Aitichson’s wonderful diagram of life within the sight of the Holy.
While I am preparing for a silence retreat I have been diving into books, going to local markets and farms, and visiting hidden bookstores. I have also just read a beautiful little book, which my friend Jenn brought to share some joy and inspiration.
In the little book I saw this piece of art and I just had to share this. Thanks for reading.
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Source of the text and artwork: “The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day from Ash Wednesday to Easter” by Sister Wendy Beckett (SPCK 2017)