During the course of my Western Pilgrimage, I have (somewhat reluctantly) passed by many touristy destinations so as to keep to both my schedule and my purpose. The growing list is quirky, and includes the following:
- Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver CO (their Performers Hall of Fame is a ‘Who’s Who’ of Rock and Roll artists, ranging from Dan Fogelberg to U2, Sting, The Beatles, and many more)
- Los Alamos NM (site of the development of the Atomic Bomb)
- Roswell NM (site of the infamous alleged UFO crash in 1947
- The Very Large Array Radio Telescope, NM (featured in the Jodie Foster film, ‘Contact’)
- Alamogordo, New Mexico (site of the ‘Trinity’ Atomic Bomb Test)
- Tombstone, Arizona (legendary Western town)
- Joshua Tree National Forest (beloved by many U2 fans)
- Yosemite (beloved by two photographer heroes of mine, Ansel Adams and John Sexton)
- Golden Gate Park (though I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge)
- Petrified Forest CA (though I have felt petrified at times by many of the canyons and cliffs I have been driving around!)
- and more…
Any of these detours might have been justified, but would have extended my travels, and detracted from and confused my pilgrim’s progress.
However, I have chosen to add two specific sites to my itinerary: Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and the Pacific Ocean.
Holy Virgin Cathedral (‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’) was built in the 1960s, and shepherded to completion by the much beloved wonderworking saint, Archbishop John Maximovitch, who had also been bishop in Shanghai and Western Europe. St John is such a towering figure in contemporary Orthodoxy that his impact is immeasurable. I am deeply thankful I was able to navigate the traffic to worship at the Cathedral for the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 15, and to venerate St. John’s incorrupt relics, which are enclosed in a beautiful shrine and canopy on the right hand side of the lofty cathedral.
As for the Pacific Ocean, I had expected to be able to find a beach and walk and photograph easily, but due to the demands of photo editing and travel, I was able only to make two brief excursions to the coast, to Dillon Beach, and Bodega Bay, where I made a few photographs, which I share with you here. There is such deep symbolism and power in contemplating the ocean…
Watch for more monastery galleries to be uploaded as time (and internet access!) permits.
And, as always, thank you all for your prayers and support!!!