Thursday, June 5, 2008

La Calera Chapel

La Calera Chapel is a little adobe church nearby where I live in West Texas. The chapel has been preserved and maintained by the retired mayor of Balmorhea, Ruben Fuentes. It's in the Chihuahuan Desert at the base of the Davis Mountains on Toyah Creek, six miles out.

The chapel is the only structure that remains of this 19th century settlement of sheep and goat herders. Nearby there are stone ruins and a small forgotten cemetery comprised of rock mounds with small hand-carved headstones and wooden crosses.

Here, the desert winds have sand-blasted everything to its origins in stone and sand.

One afternoon I ran into a neighbor who, like me, had come to pray and meditate and kick around in solitude. We did not talk long. The life out here can be very simple yet so harsh that it drives a man into submission under the sun, where all is vain that does not conform to windblown rhythms; and everything that carries life must carry with it the burden of water -- to drink, to bath, to baptize, to ride upon one's shoulders and become heavier and heavier in these torrents of sand until the far shores turn themselves inside out, there where the Child of Grace and Light begs to be delivered.

Today was so hot the dogs refused to come out from the shade. It has not rained in weeks and the creek beds are all dry. Fires have begun to stir in the prairie grass. I wonder how many will be traveling under the stars tonight seeking refuge to the north. There will be no moon. It went down with a thin smile right behind the burning sun. Perhaps we should place bottled water inside the chapel -- here where only the brothers of the desert come seeking grace; where a man can become so scorched the stones begin to prophesy.



Jon said...

Beautifully stated.

Pat from Fort Davis said...

I've been worrying about the chapel with all the dryness and fire danger. Hope that there will be someone nearby to protect it if needed. I love this little church.

Frances Fuentes said...
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