In April 1996, I organized tour to England for Fr. Edgar Parrott, an Episcopal priest and friend, who wanted to offer his congregation an opportunity to explore the roots of the Anglican faith by visiting cathedrals and churches in the south of England.
Thirty people joined the two-week tour that stopped in London, Brighton, Bath, Oxford, and Cambridge. We visited Canterbury, Winchester, Chichester, Wells, Coventry, and Ely cathedrals as well as numerous village churches and historical sites.
Shepherding 30 people on and off of airplanes and tour buses, in and out of hotels, handling baggage logistics, and managing a tour itinerary is hard work. By the time we reached the second week of the tour, I was ready for time alone.
At Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford, I let the group go with our tour guide while I wandered off across the road and down a path into a wood. The peace and quiet of the wood was inviting. I walked along the path listening to the soothing sound of the breeze through the trees.
At length, I came to a bridge that crossed a quiet stream. The reflection of the sky and trees on the glossy surface of the still water was magical. As I looked across the stream, my eyes were delighted by hundreds of sprightly daffodils. The sight took away my breath. In that instant, I stood with William Wordsworth coming upon a host of golden daffodils. I’ve never seen daffodils anywhere that compare with the beauty and profusion of those in England.
To freeze the moment, I raised my camera, composed a shot, and snapped the shutter. The photograph of the daffodils at Stratford is the perfect souvenir. I had the photograph enlarged, printed, and framed to hang in my home. I have only to look at it to recall the bliss of that solitary moment.
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