The Sound of Silence
My wife is a member of the Anglican church down in Nerja which, last weekend, organised a quiet day at a recently opened retreat centre in the Sierra Nevada National Park. We both signed up for the visit. Indeed, we did more. Saturday was our wedding anniversary, and so we arranged to drive up on Friday afternoon and stay the night, so that we would be fresh and ready for the day on Saturday.
Hacienda Los Olivos is the first Christian arts and spirituality retreat centre in Spain, and it has set a precedent that will take some beating! Set in the mountains, 1100 metres (3,600 ft) above sea level,it imaginatively combines the traditional Andalucian with the modern; it is light, airy and peaceful. I have added a link to the website in this blog.
The whole day was rewarding, but I especially valued the two opportunities, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and each of one and a half hour's duration, to find a spot to be alone and to let your mind be open and receptive to the surroundings. I had expected to gaze in wonder at the mountains - and to a degree I did - but in fact I spent my time becoming aware of the sounds that are to be found in silence; the drone of bees collecting pollen from the almond blossom, the buzz of a passing fly, a bird calling in the distance, the occasional sound of the breeze moving the leaves, a passing car or two (you can't ever quite get rid of the twenty first century!), and found my attention on the little things around me that would normally have gone unnoticed. I was reminded of a book title; "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy.