Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Space for Contemplating Life's Journey

When I was a kid, I wandered about on an old peach orchard and plantation. The main house had been converted to a nite club called "The Cotton Patch". I stumbled upon an old fence row. The trees had grown over the old wagon path and interlaced their limbs in a sylvan prayer. In the summer I could rest upon the grass and watch the sun through the lace of leaves - the twinkling light a voiceless dialogue. In the winter the bare branches exposed their very framing and taught me the valuable lesson of process. 
In designing a chapel for Hospice, I recall that place. That sacred place. As an adult I understand more the historical connotations and layerings attached to that Southern land with pitch and tar. And yet that narrow space remains sacred. The grass imprinted on my back like a tattoo.
It brings forth the question: is a place intrinsically sacred, or do we humans (in our creative finest) make a space sacred. Is it a gift, or a construction?

4 comments:

alphadog said...

Tom
Great work as usual. As to your question, I feel that a space, regardless of the efforts to create a consecrated, hallowed place is dependent not solely on the externalize creativity of a person or persons, but on internal gifts that reside within all of us. We all have the ability to take these sacred gifts with us along our path to open our eyes and recognize the beauty and sanctity that surrounds us.
Martin

Tom Schulz said...

Yeah, Martin, that makes a lot of sense. It also fudges the distinction between interior and exterior and makes the sacred more flowing somehow. An osmotic exchange.

alphadog said...

It is interesting when the Holy City was up in arms regarding the production in film of the collection of books by Philip Pullman (The Amber Spy Glass, The Subtle Knife, and the Golden Compass) for fearing that it would shed a disparaging light on the Roman Catholic Church's teachings. However, within the writings he speaks of "particles", those that have them and those that do not regardless of which world God had created. My feelings are that these particles are the sanctity that surrounds us all. For most they are walking through life, as though they were a working horse with blinders on and able only to see what is in front of them, missing the opportunity to view life from different perspectives and being open to the possibilities of how their world could be different. From my standpoint, one must be able challenge their self by reaching down and introducing ones self to the sacred gifts and the potential that they offer. It would be like trying to describe Machu Picchu having never visited.

Tom Schulz said...

As a young man, I experienced what (for lack of better words) I deemed a 'perceptual crisis'. I couldn't connect. I'm sure it was teen angst on some level. But it may have been the fledgling awareness of multiple realities. Oh sure, I had just seen "X, The Man with X-Ray Eyes" but unlike Ray Milland's character, I was cool with seeing to the center of the universe.
Blinders are such a societal convenience.