Orford Priory

Dear Gabriel,

I stood upon the footbridge and this time no dark reflection stared back. The stream glinted gaily in the bright snow, reflected from the white of the land like glass, the reeds bending to life’s strong flowing force.

As I looked up I saw the sad mounds that hide deep the remains of Orford Priory. Five hundred years have passed and now in this silent valley this morning at the deep darkened dawn, monks would say vigils and Lauds, travelers would rest a while in the guesthouse peace while laborers tilled their wide fields. Yet what of this vanished world now enclosed and valley left empty by decree?

By that cottage barn, a rusting tractor – even that rendered redundant by the march of the great combine.

But was not there one day a better world, when this valley teemed with life, work, prayer and family toil?

And the then these thoughts I banished, and fashioning a stick from a falling branch, I walked slowly homeward, the brilliant snow and yellow sun my only sight.
And in this was the huge Wold landscape, the only living thing, the dog that walked at my side.