(This series of pages “The Move” is from 2016.)
Things are looking very interesting now. Next to the plot of land I looked at last week there is a smaller plot of terraces but still big enough for the donkeys. And it has a house on it! A friend in Sella, which is the nearby village, told me that the house was built ten years ago as a weekend retreat by a fisherman who has a trawler in Vilajoiosa. His daughters don’t want to come up to the house at the weekends and he has lost interest in it and wants to sell.
The fisherman can’t be found at the moment. My friend Amable has been to Vilajoiosa to look for his trawler but apparently he is further down the coast at Santa Pola because the fishing has been better down there in these past weeks. So we are waiting for a fishing boat to appear! I have left a note on the gate of this house with my phone number. What I don’t know is the price he wants, if he is indeed still selling. It is becoming very exciting: the hermitage seems tantalisingly in sight.
The view is extraordinary but what you can’t tell from the photographs is the quality of the silence. Every silence is different. If you have lived in silence for any time, on retreat, you will know a particular silence associated with a certain place: a wood, a monastery, the silence in an area within a crowded place (like the ecumenical meeting place at Taizé in France). For me, the experience of the silence of the Carthusian monastery in Sussex still sets the standard. That was a great enclosed silence. The silence of this place is a wide open silence.
Here in Sella at Mass today I was struck by the second reading from the Apocalypse of Saint John: the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, which begins with the Evangelist being transported by an angel to a high mountain place. On this feast of St Joseph the worker and the start of the month of Mary, I pray for their support in this venture. And now, from the cafe next door where I am using the Wi-fi to send this page, I shall walk up to the place I have identified as a potential hermitage and see how long it would take to walk to Mass on a Sunday from that place. Have a good Sunday.