Out West Part IV: Endings and Beginnings

If I had a blog, today I would write about the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

The Rose Window

The Rose Window

For many years, I have experienced the pulse of our living Earth as a song. It resonates in the sigh of the wind on a chilly October night, the aria of birdsong on a spring morning, the gentle hush of snow falling on brown leaves. I was not surprised to hear The Earth Song in the desert or at the feet of the Navajo Grandmother, but Santa Fe, the city of “saintly faith,” gave me one last refrain, a piece of the song I thought lost to me forever. In Santa Fe, I heard The Earth Song in the stillness of The Church. It had been decades since I left the world of traditional Christian worship, but in the Cathedral of St. Francis, where I lit candles and prayed, The Earth Song found me and drew together the circle of holiness, found in the roots of my faith.

A Light in Dark Places

A Light in Dark Places

Inside the quiet sanctuary, I felt holiness in its purest form. As I walked down the long aisle, a thousand Sunday mornings came rushing back. This was a dance I knew by heart. When I reached the front pew, I bowed to Mother Mary, crossed myself, then knelt to pray. The words of the Episcopal prayer book returned like the voice of a long lost friend, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name….”

I went to the Chapel of the Madonna and lit candles and prayed for the healing of the oil-slicked Gulf of Mexico and wrote my prayer request in the book beside the altar. The kindly old man standing nearby assured me my prayer would be offered at the evening service. I nodded in thanks, tears welling in my eyes.

Evening on the Mountain

Evening on the Mountain

In this pilgrimage, this single trip into the desert, my faith came full circle and I am comforted to know that the same Song binds all those who believe in something greater than themselves. Wherever I walk, and whatever spiritual path I take, I am connected to the same Divine mystery. It may come to me as Arthur, the bear, as one of The Grandmothers, or as the ringing of cathedral bells, the Song remains the same.

As we left the quiet of the cathedral and the solace of the desert, I could only think of one phrase with which to end our sojourn. As we drove east, into the sunrise of a new day, I recalled the closing words of the Episcopal Eucharist: “Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.” Who could aspire to more?



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