There’s a resonance in these walls, a violence even during evening vespers, when all is still and everyone sits in a circle and closes their eyes and folds their hands and kneels with reverence, facing the crucifix in the center of the room. In my imagination I see a blurry aspect of the spirit of god tumbling over these alabaster floors and bashing into me and shattering me at once into a thousand pieces, like a wrecking ball through plate glass in the hexagonal room with a sunlit spire that tries to cast light on a dim and darkened heart.
I am a poor and dumb pilgrim, unable to express the nascent rumblings questioning the religion of my youth, wondering how much of it is true, how much is dogma, and how much was myth all along. I came to the monastery with inexplicable reasons, like the fires in my chest would only be cooled in the morning mist of New Camaldoli’s grounds, where fewer than twenty monks practice a lost way of life that still makes me feel found.
It’s been two years since my stay in the monastery. “What made you want to go?” some people still ask.
“Wouldn’t you want to be at the eye of the hurricane, if you were in one?” is the answer I’ve wanted to give, but haven’t yet. It’s the answer I made for myself.
But it’s not an answer for them.