Staying on the Path, George Reporting
11.11.2014 - 11.11.2014 31 °F
Well, when it's 20 degrees outside you quickly appreciate the fact that you have a blog to write to give you something to do other than stay in a hotel room. In a previous post I made it sound as if doing a travel blog was more of an albatross. Oh, but how one's tune quickly changes!
Besides, we are in lovely downtown Santa Fe, NM drinking coffee inside the 'Collected Works Bookstore & Coffee House' surrounded by books and, apparently, a reading by an author is soon to take place nearby.
Santa Fe's downtown has been an inspiring place. The fall colors in the trees cascade down near adobe structures and around various interesting sculptures. Walking around is fun and simple and the town has a nice balance between touristy spots, museums, open park space, historical sites and comfy places to eat and drink. Yesterday, which also happened to be Veteran's Day, was our first taste of the area and our first Veterans' Day parade.
We stood in the hot sun as the town came out to honor soldiers of all the past wars. Andrea found it a very sad experience and I just started pondering about war and peace. In the parade, I saw my favorite banner carried by veterans. I applauded them as they walked by.
After that, we walked up and around St. Francis Cathedral and surrounding park which inspired me to write this entry. In front of the cathedral is 'The Labyrinth of St. Francis', was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1886. He was an important figure in Santa Fe Territorial history and also the title character in Willa Cather’s classic novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop.
The description next to it read:
"Labyrinths have been used around the world since at least 2000 B.C Their
patterns were built into the floors of medieval Cathedrals and walked
by pilgrims of that time. This labyrinth is built in the style of the
one at the great cathedral in Chartres, France."
"The Labyrinth's path is like the path of life. There are
twists and turns, feelings of being lost, encounters with
others on your path, the thrill of accomplishment at the
center, and sometimes a flash of insight before returning."
This description also accurately describes my feelings about this epic travel we are undertaking. The potential for a "flash of insight" was
enough for me to give it a try.
At first, I was alone on the path I had chosen but could hear Andrea's voice nearby as I stared intently at where my feet were landing with each step. I walked slowly and continued to stare directly at each of my steps while my ears opened up to the various sounds around me. Soon, a few other people came to try the Labyrinth and I heard one person say, " I don't understand this.", and he gave up. Another person said this is "silly", and went off and away. A woman on the nearby bench was leaving a strained message on her phone imploring someone to "get back to me". Other sounds, mostly birds, were mixed in. As I walked the path, I noticed that a times I would get close to the center and then further away in what was turning out to a fairly long walk. After awhile, I soon realized that this scene very much typified the path in life I had chosen. When you take a path filled with the Arts, Poetry and Travel, the negative sentiments voiced by those strangers around me were very much the same ones I had heard all my life. I stayed and finished my path which never actually took me to the center but back out of the Labyrinth in a spot opposite
where I started. I'm not quite sure the meaning of that part but perhaps I will have a realization at some point later.
If you undertake a long travel for yourself, I highly recommend trying the Labyrinth at the St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe. It may surprise you with what it is trying to tell you.
Thanks for reading.