A PILGRIMAGE INTO NATURE
I guess I could call this whole trip a pilgrimage - a long series of journeys to various sacred destinations.
The places I hold sacred are mainly of the Earth: walls of stone, pillars of wood, holy waters lapping at the shore or coursing through the jungle. My temples are often outside.
But here, in the mountains of France, I felt a stirring in my soul, as I walked up the steps to a physical, brick and mortar kind of temple.
The path was rocky, laid out in huge slabs that force your feet to pause as they try and negotiate the jumble of surfaces. I was walking slowly, stopping to look out over the village and valley, or to nod a hello to the statues of Mary on my way up. Several times I bent down to inspect a patch of unruly grape hyacinths, growing from the cracks.
Up there I could hear the cry of an eagle from far above.
At the top of the stair was an opening onto a patio, at the end of which sat a huge, heavy-set wooden door, inlaid and worked with delicate features that belied the weight of the whole thing. It was the door to a church. The door was closed and locked, but the whole affair made an impression on me... the walk, the tiny chapel with its beautiful gateway like a portal into the mountains.
There is something about this mixing of human sacred spaces with Earthly sacred spaces that I love.
I soaked in my surroundings as if I was drinking from an oasis.
That bliss stayed with me all throughout our little pilgrimage in the mountains... over pass, under tunnel, on the crazy roads, in the olive groves and on the cliff's edges... I couldn't stop grinning!