Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

5:30 Mass

April 29, 2009

There’s a hundred different hair-dos here

and three hundred uncoordinated outfits.

There’s pant suits and tracksuits, jeans, skirts, and dresses, 

sweatshirts, and jerseys of all kinds.

There’s a bouncing baby the next pew up—

her attention devoted to the reflection of stained glass windows on the tiled floor—

and a crying one behind.

A lone cell phone interrupts the service, and everyone rustles around, 

Checking their pockets and bags.

 

Pay attention

I can’t

We’re at church

I’m too distracted.

 

Breathe in 

a mixture of mothballs and mildew.

Breathe out

And conspicuously scan left hands, wonder who’s married, widowed, divorced.

 

He means well up there, speaking of Ugandan women and their water pails

But it’s hard to concentrate when his deep purple vestiges against the white walls strain my eyes

And his South African accent strains my ears.

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Stonehenge- It Still Works

April 28, 2009

It was just… sitting there. Outside of our coach window, Stonehenge was a craggy blemish in the middle of the Salisbury Plain. We were let out across the old road and took a tunnel underground. We passed by a few souvenir kiosks, and finally, there it was, in person, with no glass between us and one of the most magnificent enigmas our species has created.

The heat was brutal. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that it rains all the time in the United Kingdom. However, it was a necessary trip. Within a few days I’d be leaving the United Kingdom, alone, to backpack all over the continent. But first, I needed to see a little more of Great Britain. After a long day of travel and arguing with the bus company in Salisbury, we finally arrived at Stonehenge. I turned to my travel companion, whom I’d just met days earlier, smiled, and walked as close as we could to the rocks. We walked the path around the monument, paused to take pictures and watched as birds flew around and perched on the great bluestones. The actual monument itself was roped off; though it was slightly disappointing to not be able to touch the thing, it was nice to be able to see it in all of its mysterious glory without having to ignore little kids using it as a playground.

As we wound around it, I paused and turned to the tourists. We were parading around Stonehenge like we were participating in some great religious rite. I thought about how the ancient people that built the monument knew exactly what they were doing. Whoever built it, for whatever reason, had the right idea; people still circle around and pay their respects to Stonehenge. It’s a pilgrimage to make it out that far. But we still do it. We revel in the mystery. Whoever built Stonehenge, wherever you are now, I just want you to know one thing: it worked.

-Michael

Bianca and I at Stonehenge

Bianca and I at Stonehenge

Here is a link to a great feature on Stonehenge (I brought this issue of National Geographic with me to the actual site):

Stonehenge Decoded- National Geographic