At the beginning of this year (2010) I went on a 9 day silent retreat to a place called St. Mary’s Towers. St Mary’s Towers is in an area on the south western edge of Sydney (Australia) called Douglas Park. It is situated on a property of 500 hectares. There are a series of bush walking tracks around the property that people are welcome to use. The whole area is a wonderful place in which to seek and meet God. St. Mary’s Towers is owned and run by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
While on retreat I did some writing. This writing became a record of sorts of my retreat experience. The writing soon took the form of a kind of prose poem (if there is such a thing) and took the title ‘The River and the Bridge’. Part one of this writing record is below.
The River and the Bridge
(A record of retreat in the Octave of Epiphany 2010)
I stand on a rocky edge,
Where below the dead and the living mingle
In a scene that seems to have always been.
There is new life in the valley below:
Growth at the point of age,
Supple green escaping from the grey.
I took a walk to this valley
Unsure of what I might find.
I found a beauty mid-expression,
And this beauty stirred the eternal in me.
Trees fall away to the river below.
Over time this river has worked with earth and rock,
Seeking out vulnerable places.
The river does not reject the vulnerable.
It finds it in the soft earth,
The fragile rock.
The river embraces vulnerable places,
Making its home in them.
There is a River in me seeking out vulnerable places,
The River of Love,
The living water of which Jesus speaks.
Dare I let it reveal those places I hide from myself?
As the river retreats into the valley below,
It speaks of another retreat
Into my own vulnerable places
From where Love calls and in which Love waits.