Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Silence Garden

We have had many visitors who have come specifically for Taizé, just to see what it was, to come for one or two services, to follow one service every day or to take part fully in what Taizé has to offer but who were not allowed to stay in Taizé because of their age or those who wanted a bit more comfort and/or privacy. Almost all of these visitors have mentioned the Silence Garden and the natural spring of St. Etienne and all have talked about how special it was.

You can see the garden from the Voie Verte the cycle route we use to go from Cormatin to Cluny and it has never looked very special to me. There is a lake, some trees and a grass area to sit on, big deal give me Wisley or Kew anytime! However, Cees convinced me a couple of weeks ago that we really should visit the garden and see what it was like and when we were on a walk through Taizé to Ameugny to visit some friends, we decided to see what the garden had to offer.

Unless you know where the garden entrance is, finding it is difficult. You walk down past the last building heading towards the “cliff edge” and then you take one of the many windy paths that travel steeply down the hill. Just the walk down itself is worth the effort as you meander through the wooded hillside. At the bottom you come out of the trees and into a lovely grassed area surrounded by trees and you see the lake and you see the real size of it. Further along you come to the waterfall which is where the natural spring of St. Etienne tumbles water down into the lake. There are several bridges that go over the lake to the other side and there are a number of little chalets where you can sit out of the sun (or rain!)

Dotted here and there on the grass and on the bridges were people sitting enjoying the silence, sleeping or reading. Just walking through the garden you get a real feeling of peace, people in groups talk at a whisper, but most people make no sound at all. This is in sharp contrast to the Frisbee games and general noise of the youngsters on top of the hill. I was dreading the hike back up the steep hill (244 steps I have been told), but actually it was not as daunting as I had feared and it certainly is a way to improve your fitness!

The garden in a horticultural sense has little to offer, but I now agree with our visitors, the garden is special, why or how I don’t know, it is just “special”.

More information about the accommodation we have is on La Tuilerie Website.

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