The porch of my cottage looks out onto this field. The cottage is in the center of a 20-acre alfalfa and grass farm which feeds the area horse farms in Albuquerque’s South Valley – made famous by the television show Breaking Bad. The chicken restaurant seen in the show is less than a mile from my home. So too is a drug culture. But the people here, though financially impoverished, are preposterously kind. I find that as entitlement reduces, kindness increases. And there is a lot of kindness here. I came here for it. I was sent here for it. I bathe in it like a hot bath. The photo was taken Easter Day as second Evensong began and the day became juicy.
They say that the word “pilgrimage” comes from the Latin “peligrinous” – a foreigner. The word emerges from an earlier term “per agrum” which means ”through the field.” With so many fields around my home, flooded as they are from the Rio Grande, I find myself walking per agrum a lot.
As I work hard to recover from the CPTSD of two dysfunctional family upbringing (an aliment so many in our culture have but which is so rarely diagnosed as anything other than its fight, flight, freeze and faun iceberg tip) I am finding these fields quiet. Calming. Soothing. Healing. I stare at this field for hours a day with coffee in the morning and tea at sunset when the birds are so loud that it sounds like a symphony of flute and piccolo. Indeed I took the photo from my sitting chair. And most days Kai-the-dog and I walk across it or at least into it so that Kai may fertilize it with his generous offering and I may feel its cool, soft, green moisture on my feet. A carpet of soothing calm. “All manner of thing shall be well.” Perhaps. Or not. No matter how weird all manner of thing may seem right now.
The answer to Mary Oliver’s question “…what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” is, I believe, keeping life a pilgrimage. Walking. Keeping on keeping on. Momentum versus moment. Just keep going. That is the spiritual life. Consider leaving the houses, be they your home, your crack house, your church or your country club and get out into a field and walk. Slowly. The road is home and the journey is salvation.