I've been spending this week in a village on the Norfolk coast. I came looking forward to rest and wide skies, and some good walks along the endless beaches, and I have not been disappointed.
On a beach, there is so much to gaze on and contemplate. The boundless immensity of the sea, and the lacy frothiness bordering each wave... undulations in the sand, and the ever-changing shoreline... sunlight playing on water, and the excitement of children playing in it... seagulls and shadows and spaniels, and the largesse of pebbles and shells, glistening like jewels at my feet. And as I pick out promising looking stones and shards, and recall my friend's words, I think of William Blake...
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour...
Yes, there is a whole world here, and infinity too: and yet, when I look out, and around... what seems like infinity is in reality only a few miles; only as far as the next bend in the coastline, or curve in earth's sphere. It is only a tiny part of our reality; a drop in the ocean, a grain of sand. I know all that, yet there is still a pull, as strong and irresistible as the tides themselves, to contemplate the Infinite. Because at its heart lies a pull to God, and to contemplate and delight in, and draw into a Love which is vaster and wider and immeasurably more infinite than anything I can ever know, or experience or see before me. What I do know, what I have experienced, is as limited as my view of the coastline... but it is more than enough for me.