Of Pilgrimage and Plays

Last week I made a trip to Colorado, partly to see my sister act in a play… partly to go on a pilgrimage.

My mother, grandmother and I had made this pilgrimage once before. I remember a hot, dry summer, and dust, and beautiful statues, and Mexican food – and not much else. Like apparently we never did get any sopapillas at that Mexican restaurant. Still, when I was thinking about “things I wanted to do,” reenacting that adventure was at the top of my list. And thankfully my mom made it happen.

A pilgrimage is best with other pilgrims. Take the Canterbury Tales – there really wouldn’t be any Tales if you didn’t have more than one pilgrim! My mom agreed to accompany me and we set off early in the morning, driving south as the rising sun beat in our windows. Sure enough, we got to share our stories… although thankfully nothing Wife of Bath-worthy.

Pilgrimages should be long and difficult. We were time constrained, so we chose to drive over 3 hours rather than walk barefoot along I-25. Pilgrims should eat simple food, and we did try. We stopped for coffee and bagels and cream cheese in the dusty town of Walsenberg. We couldn’t find a good “cream cheese” knife so we bought a really sharp one. We figured we could use it to fend off any bandits or wildlife. Then we headed West, past beautiful views of the Spanish Peaks, and then south to San Luis.

We began our ascent up the craggy trail, stopping to read the scripture passages and gaze at the stunning 2/3 life size sculptures by sculptor Huberto Maestas. I’m sure the guy got sick of casting crosses after 5 or so, but he did a stellar job communicating the pain and beauty of Jesus’s journey.

At the top, we gazed at the scene of the crucifixion.

Many people had left things there – rosaries, hair ties, rings. I hadn’t brought anything to leave, but I suddenly wished I had – some kind of tangible mark, an offering.

We walked around the side to the interpretation of the resurrection. Not all Stations of the Cross include the Resurrection, but it is the most important part. We sat at the foot of the sculpture and prayed for the future, for our plans, for guidance…. Alone at the top of the mesa with the most beautiful view imaginable, we could feel God’s presence and peace filling us with  joy and hope. He is risen, He is risen indeed! As we look forward to new jobs, new life changes, new challenges and new joys, we know that He is with us, guiding us onward.

After what was literally a mountain-top experience, we wandered through a walk dedicated to Mexican martyrs (as in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory) and then found our way back down. We soon discovered a local pattern of misleading signs. At least two places had open signs but were closed; a local cafe advertised paninis and salads, but sold only icons and cinnamon rolls. In Ft. Garland the one place we stopped wasn’t open yet. So we ended up getting Subway in Walsenberg.

Then we careened back to Monument to see Anna perform as Mrs. Paroo in the Music Man. Let me tell you, she did a stellar job in her dramatic debut!!

Here are all of her biggest fans:

And here she is with one of her friends (who is a girl!) They have a great makeup artist, right?! Switching ages, genders, no problema!

Well, there is so much more I could write about from my time in Colorado… like how I read the rest of what I thought was a trilogy but is actually a 4 book series… or  my parents’ new dog Sofie, and how we almost taught her to swim… or my adventure with dad in the convertible that ended in me buying him flip-flops… or the amazing kabobs that we assembled in which we experimented with grilled mango (not as good as grilled pineapple)…

But instead let me end with a picture that I call “the perfect afternoon.” Beautiful scenery (reflected in the window)… wonderful family…. and a glass of wine!

I had a great time in Colorado and can’t wait to see these people again.

Next time… all about my new job!

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