Helford Passage –Falmouth (10.0 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 335.1 miles / Distance to Poole– 297.3 miles
Today has been hot. Really hot. And I am not good in the heat. My Celtic, freckly skin tone does not seem to be able to harmoniously coexist with the burning sun. In rebellion it burns a lobster red colour no matter how much factor 50 sun cream I apply. On parts of the body the sun can’t seem to penetrate with it’s burning rays, I come out in a sun / heat rash. In addition I lose all energy and end up a burning red, lumpy and bumpy, itching mess who can’t move from the single spot of shade I’ve located.
For those of you unfamiliar with the coastal path, there is little shade on the exposed headlands and cliff top pathways. Then come the vegetation tunnels. This is where there are hedges or bushes on both sides of you, which the wind cannot penetrate. These tunnels are a blessing when it is cold and blowing a gale, but on a hot day with only a minor breeze, they turn into ovens.
Maybe I am over exaggerating it but as I sit and I am grumpily nursing sunburn on the back of my legs and my shoulders – I clearly missed a bit with the sun cream and have the most bizarre burn pattern ever witnessed! The weather was also a bit of a problem for Toby too. The tarmac in Falmouth had spent the day absorbing the mighty rays from the sun and by the time we came to town they were too hot for his little pads to walk on. If you have ever walked barefoot on hot sand before (inevitably with the little hopping dance motion if you are anything like me!) then you will understand how Toby felt…..except he had four feet on the hot road and his hopping dance was funnier to watch!
As I read this back I realise how grumpy and negative I sound. The SW tourist industry must have had a fantastic day as every beach we walked past was choc-a-bloc full. It just seems that as everyone else is enjoying this glorious heat wave I am feeling a little dehydrated. Anyone who is human will go through periods of drought and dryness, be it in their relationship with God, with others, at work or perhaps just generally in life. Times when nothing seems to grow, there is no energy to try any more and there is a desperation for refreshment and renewal. Perhaps this is made worse by seeing others take the same situations and have a whale of a time with them.
Someone who was instrumental in my journey of faith said, ‘it is a glorious place to be when you are stuck in a rut’ or in this case, stuck in a drought. It means that we have noticed that not is all as it should be and despite often not knowing how to get out of the rut or the endless sunshine, we care enough to be concerned. The real worry is when we don’t even notice. The real worry is when we don’t even care.
So tonight I will throw my arms wide (with care because sudden movements hurts the sunburn!) and throw my head back and shout out to the clouds above as I wait for the necessary and life giving water to pour over me. In the same way when I notice I am in an arid phase of my life I will try to remember to throw my arms wide, throw my head back, shout out to God above as I wait for his necessary and life giving Spirit to pour over me. It may not be instantaneous but when it comes both the rain water and God’s Spirit will bring new life and restoration where it is needed most.