We’re staying in Grassington, Yorkshire. I saw somewhere it was called the “Swiss Alps of England”. I can get the sense of that. No snow-capped peaks and Matterhorns, but the Dales are pure and English and brimming with grand vistas. There are enough walking paths to satisfy the Swiss Alpine Club, the Sierra Club, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the odd afternoons when the Grassington Horticulture Society has run out of gardens to visit.
Today was the first day that I felt like taking a walk. We’d been traveling a great deal and travel, as we know, is broadening, but also very tiring for a guy who just turned 71 years old. So, we chose a very short walk from the town center to a small church at Linton Falls. The entire hike was a bit over a mile.
But, I got my scenic jolt among the stone walls, the fields of sheep and the church at the end of the walk.
[Yes, that’s me.]
We found the small church and spent some time inside studying the Norman columns and arches. There was a Norman baptismal font. A few crypts were on the floor of the nave. One man died in 1665. Only his initials were given.
[St. Michael’s of Linton]
Then, after sitting in quiet contemplation for a short time…I noticed the window.
It was really a place that I would call a ‘prayer alcove’.
[The prayer window/alcove]
There was a small pad of paper. A pencil. A few prayer cards, some stick pins and two cork boards.
I took a moment to read a few prayer requests. After the second one, I felt an unexpected sorrow and pity for the person who wrote it. I’m assuming it was a woman…but I’ll never know. It was a simple note, not even a real request. Just a simple statement which read:
A good friend who’s husband is poorly.
[Another part of the prayer board.]
The word ‘poorly’ hinted to me that it was a British person who wrote this. As usual I began to wonder where she lived, who was her friend? How poorly was he? She clearly felt desperate and desolate enough to go to a remote church and post this humble note. Did she light a candle at Salisbury Cathedral?
But, most of all, I failed to notice the date (if there was one) and I wondered if the husband was still alive…
We began to make our way back to downtown Grassington. It was sunny and hot. The sheep I saw earlier were all laying down in the fields. We stepped aside for many walkers. We side-stepped for many dogs. The Brits love their dogs. So many signs about keeping the dog leashed…so few leashes.
I wiped the sweat from my forehead. I took pictures of the ferns and wildflowers growing between the rocks of the walled path.
I wondered about the ‘poorly husband’.
I’m not a praying man, but…
[All photos are mine]