Wherever I have been in this world, I have always tried to find a special place, a sanctuary that I can retreat to and be quiet, alone with my thoughts. It is important to me to have such a place. It does not matter what my state of mind is, it will always be improved by a visit here. When I am troubled and burdened, I will come to this island of calm, reassuringly unchanged and unchanging, unfazed by the problems of life and find I can lay my worries out and discover God’s counsel. If I am happy, I find my joy and thanksgiving amplified.
I recently asked “Just Jump In” to share about her sanctuary or quiet place and she had a very nice and cosy one. It was indoors which is perfect when the winter winds are blowing and ice storms are causing havoc. Generally, most of my sanctuaries are out in nature where I can commune with the sky, the water, the earth and the life around. However, that really was not possible or comfortable at -40 degrees Celsius.
When I studied in Ottawa, Canada, I was in need of such a sanctuary in winter which was protected from such extreme elements. Otherwise, I might strike a medatative pose in a park and as I fade into comatose, wonder if it will only be in Spring when they realise my frozen form was not a park ornament.
I was pleased and surprised to find my winter sanctuary in the National Art Gallery in Ottawa. Now the art pieces are all very interesting and pretty but it was the courtyards in the centre of the building which were my prized discoveries. In particular, there was a water court and a green court, for want of better names.
I am a sucker for water. Someone once pointed out to me that almost 90 percent of my photographs had some body of water in it. The water court had slowly rippling water. The sound of it is as peaceful, soothing and stress draining as anything I know. People throw coins into it and that just makes it a bit different and interesting each visit. It could only have been better if they would let me wiggle my toes in the water but I believe such behavior is frowned upon. Anyway, I could lose myself for hours, listening to the flowing water, watching the ripples and the patterns of the water flowing across the glass.
Then there was the “green” court which to me was like a meadow of wildflowers meeting the edge of a verdant, dark but friendly forest. Green is the most soothing color for the eyes and this place was green in abundance especially when compared to the grey skies outside. The green though was contrasted with the reds of the flowers which spoke of the promise of spring and eternal re-birth. It was peaceful, soothing and yet as primeaval as life itself.
If you ever get the chance to go to the National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, by all means enjoy the fine art collection but save some time to visit these courts. I hope what I have tried to explain here will be self-evident to you and you will come away recharged and with new zest.