A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

La Vall de Laguart I: The Way Up

While I was in Elx, my daughter Olivia, worried about the knee I am always complaining about, initiated conversation with a HelpX farm high in the mountains, in La Vall de Laguart. I subsequently arranged to sojourn there for a week or two, working in the garden in exchange for food and lodging. Though I would be working, I would also be resting, as I would be stationary for a bit, eating three wholesome meals a day. The farm is owned by the Baldwin family, consisting of Philip and Jo, who are Oxford graduates in Russian as well as accomplished musical actors, and their five children; Sebastian, Oliver, Abigail, Dominic, and Natasha.
I began my walk to La Vall de Laguart from Pedreguer. About a third of the way there, a kind lady named Alice, from the Czech Republic offered a ride; she was afraid I wouldn't make it to the Baldwins before nightfall. I declined, but gave her my backpack to deliver to a café in Fleix, one of the villages that make up La Vall de Laguart. Without the backpack, my ascent was relatively easy and enjoyable, giving me an opportunity to enjoy the view of the distant Mediterranean rather than plodding along with my eyes to the ground in front of me, which is the norm when climbing with a load. I quickly got through Campell, then Fleix, where I picked up my backpack, then went another two kilometers to Benimaurell, where I expected to find the Baldwin farm. I met Jo there, who was passing by in the van to pick up her kids from school; she told me to keep going up. I asked someone for directions and was told to go to the last house on the left before rounding the top of the mountain. Benimaurell, then, was not the end of the line. Now struggling a bit, I walked another three kilometers or so, and the mountain seemed to grow higher as I walked. I stopped at one farm where I was told the Baldwins were mas arriba. When I started to descend down the other side, I knew I'd gone too far. I backtracked a bit and found the wooden house I'd been directed to, and I was greeted by barking dogs and two HelpX volunteers, Daniella, from California, and Aldis, from Latvia. For the next two weeks I would remain in this mountain retreat at 800 meters above the Mediterranean, allowing God to restore my soul.
Loins girded for the climb
The road to La Vall de Laguart

The village of Campell

Javea and the Mediterranean in the distance

Upward through Benimaurell

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