Monday, February 17, 2014

Wandering Mystic Meditation From Rural England

Today our morning walk turns into a two-hour hike around the countryside. We pass two churches going back to the 12th Century and also enter a school that was active in 1178. The tall ancient door, window frames etched with children’s names, outside walls and indoor floors are all original and loaded with history. I don’t know where to look first. I can’t help imagining people living, eating, and congregating in the main room. The fireplace is the best: 7’ high by 10’ across, all stone. This is the image that goes with the word "hearth." It’s still black with soot from fires that roared here centuries ago. I shoot a few pictures of the school to try and capture the aura, but don’t know if they will.

The English countryside is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’m struck again by the expanse of land – perfectly manicured hills and farms that just keep going. Even in upstate New York or Vermont the mountains provide a horizon, but a much closer one. Mountains at home cut off the long distance views that the countryside here provides. The hills are luscious, rich, and green, rolling on for what seems like forever.

As we continue walking we find a tree tunnel – the road winding through trees that arch and meet overhead. It’s like entering a cave that continues down a long green lane. The arched branches give us shade and a small breeze with the sun filtering through the leaves to complete a postcard setting. I know Mom would love this, so I take some pictures. I feel compelled to bring it all home for her.

We’re getting thirsty, but it's the middle of nowhere, so we forge on. About ten minutes later, we come to the Golden Lion, a pub on this road out in the countryside. It seems we’ve been walking for miles without seeing a thing except grass and sheep. Now, here’s this little oasis. Such a far cry from Brooklyn! We go inside the pub to find a jukebox, two video games, and a long bar in original woodwork from 1428. (I asked.) The pub is dark, yet not sinister – warm, inviting, the way a pub from 1428 should be.

Once again, I find myself wondering who else has been here in the last five centuries. Who drank too much, got into a brawl, discussed politics of the day, met their soul mate, met a one-night stand they would regret the next morning? A lot of life has been seen by this wooden bar, sitting here all polished and innocent. It’s pretty wild to be in this setting, with Bruce Springsteen playing on the jukebox. Yahoo! It's a sign, to be sure. The Boss has blessed my trip. Amen.

Beth Kallman Werner is the author of the book Travels of an Independent Woman, from which this story was taken. She educates, encourages, and empowers writers with her company Author Connections that provides marketing and editing services. She lives with her chocolate lab and husband of unspecified color in the woods of Pennsylvania, where she pursues travel, photography, cooking, and gardening.


  1. A good English pub is always inviting!

  2. this good website and read some posts are interesting and I like to have some jokes to be more interesting to the reader is exciting to think about traveling the world utc

  3. THE place is imaginable, is one plac with much history more churche and school save big history and much of who think. (Efren Ramos Suarez )

  4. it´s a cool article!! it´s a place that some many things about talk. it´s a beatiful place where the people can take a vactions for relaxing and know.
    it´s a very contrasting...
    Antonio Guzman Rodriguez

  5. The place is very nice
    Marisela Zamora