Monastic Window
18 October 2021
In a hidden, small shrine beneath a large estate, I’m struck by the attention to detail of a single window. I love the outdoors and great views – and yet this window was designed not to let the viewer look outside, but specifically to help create a desired effect inside the space. It is the careful use of shapes, and light – to bring beauty to an interior space. It is no longer used as a shrine – but it was, for many centuries. Being inside the space does not fill me with religious awe, I’m quite over that, but it does fill me with reverence of different kind. Did these walls absorb the thoughts and feelings of the monks that passed through its halls, decade after decade? Could I sense the intensity of their contemplation, the fierceness of their thought, the suffering in which they walked as a consequence of their vocation and the mere accident of their time?
From inside, with the flowers outlined in the bay, and the glow of candles casting a Rorschach of warm light across the barren white walls, for a second, I imagine I can.

Peter van der Walt is a fiction author, although you may find some non-fiction and the odd essay out there. Fans can find his newsletter, posts, updates and developments at Currently, he is hard at work on his next story. When not writing, he has far too many interests to reasonably keep up with. He lives with his partner in Devon, England.