Even in a resort as beautiful as Atlantis in the Bahamas, one needs a getaway, a private spot to find a moment of silence in the midst of all the fun.
Such a spot is the French Cloister. Half way down Paradise Island Drive toward the County Club and golf course, tucked neatly between the road and the beach is the French Cloister set within the Versailles Garden of the One & Only Club.
Don’t be put off by the intimidating name of the club, it is open to the public.
The Cloister is the remains of a 14th-century monastery from Montrejau, France which was shipped to the United States in the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst. In the sixties, Huntingdon Harford II, Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company heir, bought the Cloister from the Hearst estate. He then discovered that the pieces had not been numbered. In 1968, Jean Castremanne, an artist and sculptor, put the Cloisters back together piece by piece over a 2 year period.
The statute in the center of the cloister is Silence by Scottish sculptor, Sir William Reid Dick. When World War I broke out, at the age of 34 years and 4 months, Reid Dick enlisted in the British Territorial Army and served until the war’s end. While in the trenches, he whiled away the time carving chalk figures that were an inspiration for may of his later works. One of his later works, the Bushey War Memorial in Hertfordshire contains this inscription, a silent tribute to all fallen soldiers:
“TO THE/ HONOURED/ MEMORY OF/ MEN WHO WENT FORTH FROM THIS/ PLACE AND FELL IN THE GREAT WAR/ (names follow) ALSO THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WAR OF 1939-1945/ (names follow)/ TRANQUIL YOU LIE, YOUR KNIGHTLY VIRTUE PROVED/ YOUR MEMORY HALLOWED IN THE LAND YOU LOVED”
One returns from a vacation and years pass.
And in our thoughts we recall these silent moments before we fall asleep. And recalling we think, “Silence is the sleep that nourishes our wisdom,” and reverence, the solace to soothe our soul.