A place is nothing, a stage set if it’s anything. The spaces whirl around with the earth and wait for entrances and exits. Like busy ants humans scurry in, made alterations, leave. Over and over again. Places combined with moments? With people?
In my “place” the overarching trees are always golden and it is always the moment of discovery. “What is this?”
On the top of the hill, at the end of the walk, is an enormous crucifix, life-sized. Christ hanging where he’s hung for the past two-thousand years. A gust of wind lifts golden leaves from the ground, just for a moment.
To our right, a stone formation — we think it’s stone. It’s concrete, really. A grotto, a cave. Mary stands above the opening, arms outstretched.
We climb all over it and sit on top.
The strangeness of all of this. Jesus? Here? Why? We’re good Baptists, after all. In our church there are no dead saviors.
We climb down and run down the hill in the loose and weightless way of children, kicking up leaves. We turn left at the big meadow and race from tree to tree through the tall grass. We catch a glimpse of a black-robed friar, his missal and rosary in hand, walking solemnly through the woods. All my life I’ve wondered; how are such things necessary in a forest such as that? On a bright October afternoon? In childhood’s golden moment?