A beloved friend, Pat Gohn, the voice of Among Women, is in Colorado. She recently sent pictures back of a morning walk praying the rosary. One of the pictures is of a very old log across a stream, and it evokes for me the Holy in nature. The power of God in mountains, his flow in our lives like the stream, the death and life present in the frame of the photo leads me to ask myself, “Where is my sacred place on this earth?”
One would assume the answer to be at the retreat center where I have spent the better part of ten years working the gardens, but that is not so. Though the gardens are serene spaces of prayer, intentionally numinous, they do not often move me to awe.
Where I have come closest to the God of Earth and Sky is on the Canada side of Lake Superior. This is the deepest of the Great Lakes and legend has it that it never gives up its dead.
I am filled with amazement at the startling power of the wind sweeping cold dark waves off the lake onto stone-pebbled beaches of granite and gneiss. It is a glaciated wilderness millions of years old that still groans with God’s mystery. The jagged vertical cliffs, the strong winds, the scented mist of fertile waters, the drumming of the waves are all thrilling to the soul. It is the gentler side of the ferocity that is God, and a confirmation of my smallness.
|Photo from emily.net|
When I am walking along the coast of Lake Superior, God’s presence feels as near as when in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Standing near the water I can close my eyes and feel His swirling Presence inside my being, and wander about the beaches reflecting with Him for hours. I’ve wished for days on the shores alone with Him, in Him, and through Him…in the unity of the Spirit.
There is a hunger in all of us to know that connecting place of prayer, to find a space, indoors or out, that draws us to the Holy. My friend’s finding a lovely walking trail in Colorado opened an avenue for holy conversation through the rosary. For me, remembering those walks along the shores of Lake Superior induces a hunger to return there and feel His majesty, and a hunger to return home…unto dust and spirit.
Maybe next year I will retreat to a cottage along the shores of Lake Superior. This week I will find a woodland path and, before setting out, make sure a rosary is in the pocket of my jeans.