Saturday, June 3, 2017

“Thin Places: Where We Are Jolted Out Of Old Ways of Seeing The World”

“Thin Places: Where We Are Jolted Out Of Old Ways of Seeing The World” was the title of a New York Times article on March 9, 2012. I had been searching under the key words of “thin places” when I came across it. I had just finished a first draft of “Chapter Two: Controversy” for my current book in progress, The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard: How Communities Come Apart and How They Heal. The chapter was to be critiqued this coming Sunday at the Frederick Writer’s Salon, the group that is a central support for me as I make my way through the, often arduous, writing of the book I now am devoted to completing asap.

Working on this book is a true labor of love with “love” being the keyword here.

I have never before written a full-length memoir although I have started two others; Hot Pants, Motorcycles and K Street and To See Or Not To See: The Art of Transcendent Living. Doing so, now, is demanding all that I’ve got inside of me, it seems. Nonetheless, I feel that I must tackle it though sometimes I literally hate it! 

There are some parts, however, that I like, a few I even hold with fondness though they are still in first draft form.  One of these is the section I finished last night. In that piece I am describing my drive home into the mountains where I live at New Horizons Harper’s Ferry Retreat Center. I offer it below.
Potomac Gap At
Harpers Ferry

The peaks of green I saw ahead, beckoned me as if welcoming me home. Soon I would drive through them and into them to actually be home, again. Nestled in the place I love most in the world, my private sanctuary awaited my return, abundant in lush beauty and serenity. Here, “away from the madding crowd” of town, I would sink into the richness and just let go; birds and trees, critters too small to see, deer roaming freely; sometimes too much, as they come close to my private dwelling for an early evening dinner feast, black bear hovering, I hope, beyond the boundaries I call home. 

Driving through the valleys on my route, the combination of mountains and valleys felt every bit as if they were the slim places of Celtic lore, where heaven and earth embraced, with little distance between them. Blessed was I, to be able to meander my way through such splendor, famously known by the words of Thomas Jefferson as being -- 
“perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” 
New Horizons and myself live just above what is known as the Potomac Gap of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The location rightly earns praise such as that of Thomas Jefferson. Truly it is one of the precious “thin places” that draw heaven and earth together.

As I write my book, based on a local Jewish/Muslim controversy in which I played a central role in its resolve, I write of my travels back and forth from my mountain sanctuary into the nearby town, seat of the conflict. In the telling of my tale, I find myself intrigued by the sparkling reality that, apparently, my life in these mountains, likely played a not insignificant role in helping me, no matter what, “Finding Light In The Darkness," that surrounded during the time of that episode.

I wish everyone would be as fortunate as I am, to have a “thin place” to call home. However, many people would probably not even enjoy what I consider to be luxurious living; quite a step down from a five star Hyatt accommodation.  Aside from the type of option I hold dear, I wish, minimally, all could, at least, visit sacred places such as this, routinely. I think if would help so much, especially in the era of Trump where so much turmoil abounds.

That New York Times article concluded with the writer’s assessment of the inclination for this neglect in people for personal care of body, mind and spirit with these words --
Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked. 
Eric Weiner, New York Times, March 9, 2012.
Could it be that the avoidance of places in which to experience the coming together of heaven and earth, the “thin places," is, in great measure, how many, if not most, people, these days, keep themselves excessively caught up in the day-to-day upsets of Trump and Company pitted against the Democratic party and other anti-Trump factions?

I can’t help but see a connection here. The “thin places” are about coming together; heaven and earth especially, not separation. 

Think about it!

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