We fell upon Chimayo from the high road between Santa Fe and Taos. It appears as a small patch of green surrounded by steep red hills. There isn’t much there. Just a few artisan’s shops, and a home or two. The small church located in the center of the hamlet has a feel of being the hamlet. I was quite surprised when I reached the church to ﬁnd a statue of a peregrino. On the same day last year I was in the middle of my pilgrimage to Santiago Spain.. Now in the middle of the southwest, on a march to bring awareness to climate change, I am linked again to that sojourn. Chimayo is a pilgrimage site also with the patron Saint James, or Santiago. Each year in the spring many travel by foot to this tiny wood & Adobe church to seek needs of the heart. It’s a site believed holy to the Native American for many centuries prior to a Christian arrival. Apparently the church is built upon the site of a spring holy to them. It now is dry. A hole in the ﬂoor provides access to the dirt where the spring was. Pilgrims take a little bit of this dirt to heal their ill’s. With all places holy there is something notable about the physical location. As we walk across the southwest it’s apparent that some places have signiﬁcance to our spirit. Something created by the physical environment carries you to God. When you see and feel this it is more than probable someone else has before you. We humans have paid homage to these gifts of the land for a very long time. That’s why a church sits in this valley, and that’s why the spring before it held special meaning. I am only passing through with my footsteps and feeling what others before me might have.
The road out of Chimayo was littered with syringes. A heroin problem exists in the area. For a place of pilgrimage, and healing to struggle with brokenness reminds me of how fragile the spirit is and how important the footsteps are.
One step at a time … Up the mountain I go.