Blog Archives

What leaving looks like

If you go to Valentine, Texas, and think the church will be unlocked and then discover it’s not, this is what you’ll see as you leave, trying not to be too disappointed.

Valentine, Texas
photographed 12.22.2018

Side Business

Just across from the famous church, you’ll see Vigil’s Store, which seems to be doing a brisk business selling chile-related products. I bought a little bag of dried green chile powder. (The storekeeper told me she enjoyed watching me take a deep breath of the scent, with my eyes closed and a smile on my face.)

Chimayó, New Mexico
photographed 5.27.2018

The Bench Project

All of these painted churches had large grounds beside them, with an additional building or two to support the annual feasts or whatever other activities go on.

There were a couple of people inside the church who’d come there with a guide. I didn’t listen to much the guide had to say, but I did hear her say that the church’s 2017 feast – which usually attracts four or five thousand people* – was cancelled because the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey created some concerns about food safety.

Anyway, I liked the benches and bench project and that one folding chair. And the pile of leaves.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
High Hill, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

*In 2000, the population of the town was 116. To put things into a bit of perspective.

to be attached to holiness

And so, after a brief stop at an unadorned Methodist church, I resumed my painted-church tour.

The next one I found was in High Hill, where I found this little altar around the corner from the main entrance, tucked in beside a crooked column. There was a barricade around the altar, so I wasn’t able to examine the things that had been left there. (There were also some other people in the church which sort of…hindered my exploration. If you know what I mean.)

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
High Hill, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

These breathing shadows

This image brought to mind the same song I referenced yesterday, Celestial Horses by Bruce Cockburn (of course!). The specific lines this calls up are:

Even at the heart of these breathing shadows
You can feel us gathering at the door

St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption
Praha, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

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