An afternoon in Durham, UK.
I visited Durham City today, quite by happenstance, but I had such a good day I wanted to chronicle it. I live in the County of Durham in North East England, and Durham City is about a thirty-five minute drive from where I live. As such it is one of my favourite local places to visit, and I go there fairly often, but today was special.
My day began with a couple of friends and I going for a lovely and picturesque two hour walk along the Deerness Valley public walking route, to a small village called Esh Winning. You'll see a map of this route below.
From there I took a bus into Durham City centre, and had lunch in my favourite little English tea room 'Treat's Tea Room' which overlooks the River Wear...
Map of my walking route from Willington to Esh Winning
I was not allowed to take pictures inside the Cathedral, so these are from the website:
I sat contentedly in the quaint little tea room, enjoying my ham and egg sandwich and cup of tea, and reading Harper Lee's classic 'To Kill A Mockingbird' for the fiftieth or so time. After that I took a stroll up to Durham Cathedral. This, I have to say, was my favourite part of the day. It was a crisp and cold February 1st, but the sun was shining and the air incredibly fresh and invigorating. The bright sun shining on the magnificent nine-hundred and nineteen year old Norman building was a sight to behold! And once I got inside the building I was in awe, I have been to the cathedral before, but only in the nighttime. In the daylight I could see every inch of the astounding architecture that covers every inch of the internal structure. From the floor to the top of the tallest tower, which stands at 217 feet high, the Romanesque architecture, the pointed transverse arches, massive columns and huge stained-glass window's would take your breath away. Even someone fairly immune to religion, as I am, cannot help but be moved and humbled by it's magnificent beauty!
I sat in contemplative silence for a little while, on a pew towards the front of the Cathedral, and gazed over the beauty of it all. Then took one more slow walk around, before I left to begin my journey home. As I left the Cathedral to walk to the bus station, I decided to walk along the route which passed by the side of the River Wear, and I'm so glad I did! As I had some time to kill I sat on a nearby bench overlooking the river, I could hear accordion music being played not too far away, and I was enjoying the view and the ambiance when out of nowhere a Robin flew down and perched beside me on the bench! Clearly he was used to humans as he sat happily, so close to me that I felt asthough if I reached out my hand he would hop onto it! But instead I took out my camera and began snapping as many shots as I could before he flew away.
Not long after this I continued on, caught my bus and went home. But not before I took out my notebook and pen (which I take everywhere with me) and there I sat on a bench overlooking the river, interrupted only by the occasional passer by, I wrote the following poem:
The Beauty In you
I visited your house today, it's not a place I normally go,
but today I found myself there, quite by chance.
Though once I sat and beheld the wonders which surrounded me,
it didn't feel quite to happenstance.
I could have sworn you were there with me,
I felt a peace inside, I haven't for a while.
But was it truly the presence of thee?
I heard no booming voice, I saw no shining light,
I just looked around at the spectacle, and realised I still believe.
After some time sitting in awe
of the man made splendour to your honour,
I walked outside and sat by the river.
The air was crisp and fresh,
and my thoughts remained on thee.
Accordion music played in the distance,
as if someone were playing just for me.
A Robin perched abreast a cobbled step,
come to say 'Hello' and pose for a picture.
The beauty and magnitude of what I had seen
would make most who behold it feel insignificant,
but I was moved quite differently.
The awesome wonder of what surrounded me,
reminded me that I am connected, to this world and everything in it.
The trees and the earth, the landscape, architecture and all the people who,
are all connected, and full of beauty too.
Not the shallow beauty of a media obsessed world,
but the true and honest beauty, of a world created by you.
The beauty of a soul,
or a frosty winter morn'.
The autumn leaves that fall,
and the sun that rises on a summer's dawn.
The beauty that surrounds me makes me feel safe,
connected, loved and beautiful too.
And for the first time in a long while,
ever so close to you.
A Poem by Literature Fairy (c)