"There's a place, at the edge of the sky, where there's a love, as deep as it is wide".
I can't recall the first time I fell in love with a place - it was probably our first garden in my childhood - but I do recall being somewhere that I truly wanted to 'own' me.
Back in the 1980's, when Kay and I could finally afford to go on holiday, we discovered Cornwall - we did a week touring and B&B'ing around its length and breadth, and we found a bond with its beauty and its pace that wasn't going to end. We actually found one particular location that we loved so much that we entirely re-scheduled our plans for the end of that first week so we could spend another day there, and that was just the start. Over the next 20 years, we would come back again and again, even in the heart of winter. Yes, we had other holidays in other locations, but Kay and I wanted to live in Cornwall - it had become part of us.
In the later 90's, as Kay approached retirement from teaching, we were on a weekend break, visiting towns there we'd not been to before, when we realized that re-locating to that part of the world was affordable. It took us some 18 months to make it happen, but suddenly, we were residents of that amazing place. The wonder of being there became overshadowed by Kay's illness, but in spite of that, those first four years became very special. We had a location some 25 minutes from home where we could spend many afternoons and evenings on the beach, Kay usually reading, whilst I swam and scrambled, often having our quieter times there as the sun set.
Kay's last few years left me with another legacy - engaging afresh with the place, the world and with people through photography, and this changed something deeply inside me. No longer was Cornwall somewhere I visited or even somewhere where I lived... it's barren grace got into my blood and whenever I return there, especially to certain spots, I hear it's voice saying 'welcome home'.
The loss of Kay necessitated re-location, and I thought I was going to loose that connection once again, but, by the care of a God rich in mercy, I live somewhere where, every morning, when I walk to the top of the road, I can look across the river and see Cornwall spread out before me, waiting for me to come back.
All of this speaks, I think, to how we are meant to be - there is such a 'calling', an 'owning' by our Father and His creation meant for us all, a sense of purpose and being that truly, in our very marrow, smiles upon us and confirms we are where we should be. Often, we loose even a glimpse of that vista because of what we allow to get in the way (usually, our own short-sightedness), but if we've truly encountered such splendor - if we've smelt, felt, tasted and enjoyed such enchantment - then nothing else will truly satisfy us like the moments when we can stand in such a place, and just enjoy the moment, totally owned by it's enfolding embrace of us.
God is our Father, and our home. His love is that blissful warmth like the sunlight on a perfect summer's day, inviting us to relish in the ravishing of the moment, to know deep joy as we play in the precious scope of His boundless grace. The Father has given us Jesus, His Son, so that we can come home, and even on those days when we seem so very far away, in what He has done in His Son, we can still catch a view of what truly is, and what is to come - the wonder that will bring us home.