Texas Missions

This story begins as so many Texas stories do, “Hold my beer and watch this”! Just kidding, that’s only stories involving fireworks and trips to the hospital. This anecdote begins in a bluebonnet patch. Why bluebonnets you may ask?  Maine’s state flower is a pine cone. Have you ever laid on a stack of pine cones?

Blue Bonnets, our Texas state flower, Mission Goliad in the background, and a solid summer sunset. Stevie Wonder using a disposable camera couldn’t mess up these pictures.  Taking a few test shots, I overheard  a couple, “Wow to think these walls are from the 1700’s.” As they passed a large sign explaining  the original structure had fallen in. The current Mission was built by the C.C.C in the 1930’s.untitled-6907

This, my friends, is why you should always read the signs.  It’s a lesson, I too learned the hard way. Finally, the sun cast its soft orange rays over the gates and structures of Goliad. Suspended dust floated on invisible air currents adding complexity and texture. Behind a camera, I think differently, time moves slowly. It’s that magical moment when light, time, and “life” entwine. I’m always hoping for an epiphany, an instant of clarity or a life realization. You’re getting excited but, I got nothing!untitled-6985

The next morning we entered San Antonio. Yes, we visited the Alamo.  It’s a small structure filled with Chinese tourists purchasing souvenirs made in China. untitled-7045

Oh the irony! The Alamo aside, there are 4 other  Missions in San Antonio.They were amazing, filled with awesome artwork, artisan stained glass, and an endless volume of history and antiquity. Even more interesting, a few of these Missions are still used for worship services. Thus, on our poorly- timed visit on a Sunday morning we explored the grounds and waited for services to let out . There were so many statues. Can one have too many images of “White Jesus on the Cross” or Caucasian Madonna with child? ha ha!untitled-6770-2

Lost in a winding endless series of corridors, I wondered  “Have I seen that cross before? Maybe it was  a different cross?” There were so many. There before me, was a sign and a  note to self : “always read the signs”. untitled-7125

Something about this little sign punched me right in the “feelings.” Imagining a young native boy fleeing this very Mission.  To him it was a symbol of a forced religion and oppression. Then contemplating the mindset of the fryer, leaving the comfort of “the Lord’s house.”, to track down that  “poor lost soul,”  in the hopes he could be saved from his “savagery.”untitled-7138-2

The more I pondered these characters, the farther my heart sank. Here was my epiphany, but it wasn’t beautiful, nor was it kind. Many of horrible acts have been committed in the name of “faith”. Now before we start pointing fingers, faith is called by many names. Christian, Muslim, Atheist, etc.. everyone believes in something.

Racking the focal point of a shot, I was left with a single question. With the best intentions are we still “chasing” people down; trying to make converts by means of social expectations and peer pressure? It seems every story in the media revolves around a hate group; religious organizations demeaning homosexuals, or a racially motivated attack, perhaps an act of terrorism committed in the name of “faith”. But aren’t these extreme examples? Tonight, scrolling through Facebook, during this current election, I wonder.  Friends are lost over political views, forceful opinions,  conversations shifted to angry hateful arguments. I fear we have learned very little from the failings of history. Perhaps it’s time we gaze at the night sky and remember we are all but stardust.untitled-7178

 If you are offended by this please contact me, let’s plan a trip and share a campfire. If you want to send hate mail, please read this a few times, I wrote it for you.

 

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