Consecutive Days Riding: 12 Consecutive Days Blogging: 13
Today’s Mileage: 6 Total Trip Mileage: 123
I hope everyone got a chance to visit our first Pilgrimage site (click on tab at the top of the page if you did not). As I mount the stationary bike for today’s ride I have decided to ride further up the coast before we leave the Keys and head inland. I believe there is nothing wrong with lingering over a meaningful experience. We will of course get the opportunity to visit other coast lines in the future and other pilgrimage sites. But the first is important as it often sets the expectations for future visits.
I have dried out from the underwater leg of yesterday’s journey! My progress was slowed by the beautiful coral formations, and by the CAUTION FISH SCHOOL CROSSING signs! One of the benefits of a virtual trip is you don’t need expensive lessons and equipment to make it to the hard to get too places. I won’t be surprised to see us “take to the air” on future site visits!
I left my fellow travelers with three questions yesterday. I want to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on each. But first a disclaimer: In no way do I assume that my views hold more authority or truth than any other visitor’s to this site. These are my views and are shared with joy, as a gift, feel free to disagree with these views. Feel free to share your own!
With respect to the question about the significance of nature, any of you who have followed this Blog will know I find a great deal of meaning in my relationship with nature. It offers me beautiful and powerful images and experiences, which I in turn cherish and honor with poems, musings and artistic images. I will at times speak of nature the way others may speak of a deity. Nature also presents me with mysteries, dangerous situations, and challenges, much like a deity may for some people! Nature’s most precious gifts for me has been the Nature Mystical Experiences. I know some people experience the gifts of nature as blessings from a higher power. I experience nature as a higher power!
The second question asked about the significance of the Christ figure as a shrine. The use of Christ versus some other religious figure (Buddha, or Krishna) is easily understood as Christianity represents the predominate form of religious thought in Italy, where the statue originated, and in the US. I believe many people like to be reminded of and remind others of our relationship with the divine, this accounts for the popularity of road side crosses across much of the southeastern US. So this placement represents a public display of worship and faith. I also equate Christ’s posture, open arms and head turned skyward, as offers of comfort to anyone who might be in danger of “slipping below the surface,” anyone who might be in need of rescue. This posture, especially on land, could be seen as a plea to the “Heavenly Father” for mercy or help for those unfortunate individuals in need.
The third question concerned the possible significance of the placement of the shrine, miles off shore and under many feet of water. I believe this highlights an important aspect of many pilgrimages: they are in not easily accessible places. Of course in the modern world with air conditioned buses, planes, 4 wheel drive vehicles and GPS devices, the challenging and often daunting travel aspects of a pilgrimage have in many cases been turned into a detour or a tourist ride.
Given that the work of the pilgrimage journey was the struggle with roadblocks to be overcome, both external ones like deserts, mountains and raging rivers, and internal ones like doubts, misgivings and a loss of faith in the journey, one can argue roadside pilgrimages have robbed these journeys of real meaning. The irony of this statement is not lost on me, as I have taken on the task of leading myself and others on virtual pilgrimages where you don’t have to leave the safety of your home, office or even your bed.
This is where my pragmatic nature rises to the surface as I would argue that many of us have demands that can not be set aside to roam the world. As such I believe we should journey in whatever way we can, accepting the physical challenges have been removed, or replaced by a stationary bike ride. We should confront any and all internal/mental roadblocks we encounter. As a therapist I can tell you the most frightening and daunting hurtles most people face in their journey towards happiness, adjustment and maturity are in fact mental. Whether that be overcoming past trauma, facing one’s fears, letting go of negative feelings, or risking to care and love others.
So I believe that the Christ in the Deep site represents in some ways a return to the pilgrimages of old where they are more out of the way and presented the determined pilgrim with a physical challenge. Of course the cynical among us might argue that its placement was more of a business decision to promote the glass boat and scuba diving tourist industry.
Todays artwork included two of my own works. Entitled: “Beauty at your feet” and “Stain Glass Window – Amaryliss.”