‘Such gilded moments are sacred lapses of time.’

Still going strong: Peter D Leeming offers a reflection on the value of silence

‘In our daily lives these occasions of mystic encounter are more frequent than we admit.’ | Photo: Martin Katler/ Unsplash.

It was as if a hand had suddenly reached into our lives. Four of us, on a frosty winter’s afternoon returning from an outing, boisterous and in high spirits; just a few kilometres to go and we would be home. We turned off the main road, down a dark, narrow lane shaded by trees and almost at once hit black ice, going into a seemingly endless skid, sliding downhill completely out of control. All our driver could do was to strive as best he could to avoid the walls and trees on either side. An immense stillness fell upon us, bonding us into one. Nothing existed beyond this intense stillness inside our car, and the overwhelming sense of being moved into the unknown. Words were impossible, all we could do was watch – and await what would come. And yet, I can recall no sense of fear. I remember instead a profound feeling of awe at the speed at which we moved, and the sight of that dark road rushing towards us. In the profound stillness which held us in its grip I was conscious of nothing else but that icy road and the four of us in the car.

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