Sunday, August 18, 2013

Return Visit to the Cave of St Baume

A couple years ago I made my first visit to the cave of St Baume.  On that occasion, some friends invited me on a hike and I jumped at the chance to get out and explore.  I had no idea of the jewel I would discover in the rock face.
This time I went back, again invited by friends, with my kids and we took a shorter route following a picnic in the woods.  This time, again, I was struck by the jewel of a quiet nook in the face of a rock wall: un abri, a cathedral, an apparent pilgrimage spot that's become my favorite quiet place in southern France.
French legend holds that Mary Magdalene arrived by boat par hasard in Provence, converted the whole of Provence (that sure didn't last...), and then retired to a cave in the St Baume mountain ridge forest.  This cave is now on a popular hiking route in the south of France, now fancied up a bit as a cathedral complete with a priest living next door in a house on the rock face, a tourist boutique, and (I'm told) weekly worship services.  I can't speak to much of that, but what I can say is that the cave is dark, cool, and quiet.  Even my son dropped to a whisper as we approached the site, asking in hushed tones where to find the chef.  I love to sit and think in there.  And while I'm not sure I put much stock into the Mary Magdalene story, I do appreciate her as a person and character in the gospels and that appreciation perhaps only makes me like the place more.
Hiking buddies.
Every boy on a hike needs a stick, right?

Mary had a pretty sweet view coming out of her cave.

The hike up was long and slow. Going down, they didn't wait or put on the breaks.

Lying in wait, sure to frighten an unsuspecting passer-by.

Yeah, so my son's not the oldest one on that bench, behind almost a full year.
We're giants over here, he and I.

1 comment:

paul and tracy said...

Crickets chirping.....