Thursday, December 29, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - December 28
The Sense of a Journey Ended
After None--in the pretty pine wood of young pines by Saint Teresa's field (I still call it St. Teresa's wood)--where I have gone many times a week for four years, especially four summers, since 1957. The time has come for a kind of summing up of all this silence and sunlight and of those similar afternoons. Attached and at peace in this wood because it knows me so well now and I have no house there and nothing has ever been said or declared to indicate that I was there always. Nothing said it was "my place."
There I discovered Paraguay and for a while this wood was Paraguay (1957). I read a thing of Kierkegaard with a lovely paragraph on solitude--a bit of Henry Miller on Big Sur (in another place), much Suzuki, Vinoba Bhave. It is an oriental wood. I taught Nels Richardson (Frater Aelred) a little yoga there, walked and planned with Dom Gregorio anxiously there. There walked one afternoon after discovering some lyrics in the I Ching. Read The Leopard and Ungaretti there. Above all prayed and meditated there and will again.
St. Mary of Carmel after Vespers is tremendous: with the tall pines, the silence, the moon and stars above the pines as dark falls, the patterns of shadows, the vast valley and hills: everything speaks of a more mature and complete solitude. The pines are tall and not low. There is frankly a house, demanding not attachment but responsibility. A silence for dedication and not escape. Lit candles in the dusk. "This is my resting place forever"--the sense of a journey ended, of wandering at an end. The first time in my life I ever really felt I had come home and my waiting and looking were ended.
December 26, 1960, IV.79-80