A day at sea

If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me fast.
- Psalm 139:9-10

We took the wings of the morning by bus to Tenby in the southwest corner of Wales, a coastal town. From the bus park, we walked single file down the long embankment into town and to the docks and boarded a small boat for Caldey Island. The tide was out and many boats lay on the muddy bottom of the sea. Later, I learned that the tide rises by eight meters daily.

Caldey Island was first settled by monks in the sixth century. In 1925, Anglican Benedictines sold the island and the abbey to Catholic Cistercians, a group of monks from Belgium.

We walked up the hill to the abbey, an imposing set of white, red-tiled roof buildings that look more like the southern Mediteranean. After prayers in the chapel and lunch on the lawn we all enjoyed an afternoon in the sun.

I headed past the chocolate factory to the rocky cliffs out beyond the lighthouse and then kept walking some more, finally stopping halfway down the craggy cliffs with no one else in sight. I had the ocean to myself as far as I could see, enjoying the sun and the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks.

This is as good as it gets. I'm never happier than when I'm close to the ocean. Later, I shared afternoon tea with others from the group before heading back to Tenby by boat, but it will be the hour along the sea by myself that I'll remember most about the day.


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