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I have seen, felt, heard, and tasted many miracles. The world is full of them, you just have to look…
The First Miracle: Free-flowing, Childish Joy
Tintern Abbey is pronounced tin-tin abbey. It’s ancient and has lost every part of its roof now. After a lunch at the pub nearby, we bought our tickets and went off to explore. There was a wall of the main chapel rising up in front of us, far above the ruin all around us. They rose only to about five or six feet, some less than that. To my left I could see a series of even lower walls, perfect for climbing across, but first I would explore the main part of the abbey. I checked a few rooms near the front then veered off through the ruins to the right, making my way to the main chapel. What remained of the corridors was narrow and winding. I’ll bet the newest monks got lost a lot way back when monks actually worked and worshipped there. Thanks to the large holes in the walls, I managed to reach the main chapel.
The walls of the chapel rose up and up and seemed to lean inward slightly for a cavernous effect. Instead of cobblestone flooring, a path flanked patches of the greenest grass possible. A few pillars were still stretching out to support a roof that wasn’t there, but most were merely stumps. I’ve never liked church the few times I’ve gone - it’s too stuffy for my liking - but if church was held outside in a place like that chapel, I wouldn’t mind at all.
After I had drunk my fill of the beautosity (yes, I know that’s not a real word) of the chapel, I wandered off in search of my Mum. I found her sitting on one of the low lying walls I had spotted earlier. I climbed up and she challenged me to a race where we couldn’t touch the ground, only the stone walls. The objective was to reach the only building still standing before my Mum could. I beat her by jumping a bit farther than I should have and barely saving myself from a bloody knee. Triumphant, I decided to do a bit of rock climbing. I had been dying to since we arrived, but it was all sacred and would be disrespectful to climb on the abbey. This little building, what used to be the Abbot’s Chapel, was out of the way and not of any particular importance so Mum gave in and let me climb.
I started on the outside, but that was too easy so I began to climb on the inside. This was harder because of the tiny handholds. I had to do it quickly or else fall. There were a couple spots where I could rest, though and luckily I found one before I attempted the hardest bit. There weren’t many footholds in the stretch of wall just before the first corner, so I had to stretch my foot all the way over to the other wall. Later, my Dad tried to do that bit and hurt his leg. I managed to make it around without touching the ground.
The Second Miracle: Acknowledgement and Acceptance of the World
Finally, we were ready for the climb. I was a bit worried about Michael Bailey because he almost never goes anywhere, but hopefully he would pull through. Stocked up with water and snacks, we started off. I was in the lead, practically bouncing up and down for joy of being in the pure and clean nature of England. I was in England! That still amazed me, even as we took our first water break.
The only thing I wanted to know was if there would be sheep at the top. So far, our tedious and grueling hike (Not!) had been sheep-free. I didn’t want this trend to stop. I had seen enough rams and ewes to last me the rest of my life. Michael called for another water break and I winced, but even that couldn’t spoil my good mood. The air felt so sharp and cleared my senses. It was as if I had finally found the perfect prescription for my contacts. I was so peaceful, yet at the same time I was full of energy, ready to reach the top. I even jogged for a stretch until my lungs gave out.
English mountains look curiously like bald men, with a fringe of trees at the base and only grass and stone on top. As we emerged from the bald man’s fringe, I was fizzling with pent up energy. The air was even clearer and more pure than before. I felt alive.
When I reached the top, what little breath I had, left from my desperate sprint to the summit, was taken by the wind and carried off as a sigh. Smells tempted my senses back to life and I remembered to breath. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, the scents of miles and miles filling me and the world beyond. I wanted to be part of it, part of this world, part of this miracle. Nothing can truly describe what happened next. I heard the wind, smelled the smells, felt the cool embrace of life, tasted it on my tongue. I was the wind. Soaring and swooping and gliding over the land, elevated not only in matter, but in spirit, too. I was the mountain. I felt the tender caresses of the atmosphere as it swirled around me in a crazy dance of joy and pure love.
Like everything in this world, such things must end. It did, but I did not turn my slight smile upside down, for I had been let in on a secret to rule all secrets. The wind whispered in my mind, giving me it’s parting message. Remember.