We drive past the chapel and work our way back to the guest house.
We are greeted by these, poking through the rails, straining to face the sunshine. Its a welcome greeting, Roxane and I both stop to capture in pictures.
We put away our things, but every window beckons with a filmy, gauzy, white in which the sun streams through. I can hardly wait.
The "blue" bedroom is the one I always choose. But I barely lay my bags down and reach for my camera. I can't sit inside for long. While Roxane, a writer and journalist, works, I head out. My thoughts still, as my eyes open to the light streaming everywhere.
I walk outside and as my feet hit the earthy grass, I see a Guinea feather, left behind by one of the hens that inhabits the grounds. I see them, far off in the distance. Its the only sighting of them I have the entire time I'm there.
I walk past the gated areas, where the sisters live. With 7 hours of their day centered around praying, I am quiet with my steps, not wanting to disturb the solitude around me.
The gate, to their backyard, with the word "cloister," on top. The word according to Merriam Webster means : a place where monks or nuns live : a monastery or convent
The silence is both staggering and serene.
Its a long walk, yet, just like our ride, I shoot photo after photo, stepping carefully through the grounds. There is something so sacred about being here. I go to sit in front of Mary, and at long last my overflowing heart is unburdened.
While the leaves are turning autumnal colors, and falling steadily from the trees, bursts of color stand out everywhere my eyes gaze. Like at the feet of Mary, the bright red flowers, just beginning to wither, yet steadfastly facing into the light.
I soon get up to walk down and around the rest of the property. The light dazzles everywhere and I am shedding my sweater, for short sleeves, just like my soul is shedding its burdens, layer by layer.
I walk. I breathe. My mind ever still. About the only word that truly escapes my lips, is thank you, God, thank you.
While there are points of reflection in so many places, like the bench below, I simply wander forward. My Fitbit steadily counting all my steps.
Step, after step, of gorgeous grounds, and nature in all its glory. How can one not feel God? I do not have any urgency to find Him, He is everywhere. I just breathe deep.
I'm outdoors, walking the grounds for nearly two hours. Its nearing dinner time and Roxane and I will be heading into town to eat our first meal on our own.
But as if my first day, wasn't spectacular in every way, the next day doesn't disappoint in all of my new discoveries. More coming…