Thursday, October 25, 2012
A Place of Peace
My sister-in-law was visiting for the afternoon, and knowing her love of gardening and wanting to explore a place I'd read about, I suggested we go to see the Master Gardener's Teaching Garden in nearby Bristow. It's not such a great time of year to see a garden, but I figured the exploration in and of itself might be fun. I had no idea what we would stumble upon; certainly no idea that this treasure lay just around the corner.
The Teaching Garden itself wasn't all that exciting, although I imagine it could be during peak seasons. But what I found that spoke to me was the Benedictine Sisters Place of Peace. A delightful walking area for people of all faiths to come and find quiet. Perhaps it is my desperate need for quiet in this chaotic place in life I find myself, but I eagerly await the chance to go back and further explore for I learned that we hadn't even visited half of it. What we did see, aside from the teaching garden, was the labyrinth and the silos. The silos are open to the sky and have a stained glass insert running the complete length of the silo. To follow it with your eyes to the poofy white clouds that we had at that visit was like a refreshing shower for me, although it seemed to creep my guest out and was a tad claustrophobic, she admitted.The labyrinth has 11 circuits or 180 degree turns and if you walk it you will go from the outer edge to the center and back again to the outer edge, although we managed to mess up by "cheating. It is not a maze with wrong turns but somehow we managed to skip a turn and end up inside instead of outside. Those who know me well, I am sure this doesn't surprise you. With plenty of benches for sitting and the peace and quiet of the country, I knew that I would be back. Sister Pat was busy cleaning up the flower beds and was a wealth of information about the property. She recommended that we pick up a copy of the walking tour on our way out and then come back for the full experience. And we did.
Now I can't wait to go back. What we missed on that beautiful fall day was the Way of the Cross walking path. The walk is through an ancient cedar grove that includes 16 stations of the cross. The brochure reads, "a prayer path that calls each of us to better understand forgiveness through the example of Christ's life and his suffering." Growing up in a tiny Presbyterian church, I did not experience much in the way of the art of the church. We don't have statues and icons, in fact pictures of Jesus were forbidden as a form of idolatry so it wasn't until in my adult life that I really began to discover and enjoy the beauty of worshiping God through art. Now perhaps I have it all wrong and the stations of the cross are not considered art but several years ago I recorded during my travels the rendering of several church's stations. All very old churches in Santa Fe and each one with very different renderings of the stations. (The stations are depictions of Christ's final hours, crucifixion, death and resurrection, if you are as ignorant as me) So I am particularly interested in seeing the Way of the Cross walking path because it appears in the brochure drawings that they are made from wood. I have a special fondness for walking in the woods and I am eagerly awaiting a few free hours when I can experience both the beauty of nature, the beauty of creative expression and the beauty of spiritual renewal.
All practically in my backyard! And next spring I shall explore the Master Gardener's Teaching Gardens.
For more info check it out here