Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Our Lady of the Saguaros

Our Lady of  Tumamoc Hill

There are unexpected poetics along the popular trail that winds up Tumamoc Hill, smack in the center of Tucson and affording a great view of the whole city.  It is also a Sanctuary for the asking, and sometimes the Goddess appears at unexpected moments.

I felt like sharing this Shrine, with its mosaic  Madonna standing at the trail head (or, at the end of the trail, depending on your perspective).  The Shrine occurs on someone's house, an old house that stands at the trail head to  Tumamoc.  Tumamoc  is  near A Mountain. A  Mountain (which might be more appropriately called "A Hill") is an extinct cinder cone that features a large "A" on it's pointy side. The "A" came to special prominence in 2003, when patriots painted it red, white and blue as George Bush prepared to invade Iraq, and anti-war protesters painted it green in the middle of the night. For about 6 months, you never knew what color the "A" would be, but eventually the patriots won and it remained  a garish red, white and blue until last year, when it transfigured into a simple white A.  Changing times.  At any rate, the trail is taken very  early in the morning before the heat comes. It rises gradually among a grove of saguaros, and affords a wide view of Tucson, and the sunrise among the Catalina Mountains.

I don't actually know what the shrine is called, but I call it "Our Lady of the Saguaros". Because, as you walk up the hill, you pass chaparral, medicine plant, sage, and impressive Saguaros. Native people called them the "fingers of God", and indeed, they often do seem to be making Mudras, telling slow stories about time, heat and the desert, if one can only find the means to read the sign language they speak.  Right now, having bloomed white flowers in April and May, their tops are crowned with red pear shaped fruits, which the birds are tearing open to eat. It's quite wonderful to see those red tops, and masses of finches and doves gathered on the tops of the desert trees, happily feasting.

May we all find "Our Lady" (by whatever name) waiting for us at the end, or beginning, of the Trail.




1 comment:

Rain-in-the-Face said...

It's called the Luminous Mother shrine and was created by artist David Shoon, who had been commissioned by Deborah Fahnestock to make it. In March this year Deb's sister passed away.

Deborah was a wonderful person who obviously could have
afforded to retire but chose to become a medical social
worker and assist Vietnam Vets. She enriched the lives
of many people.


Deborah (1947-1995) despite having never smoked, developed lung cancer. She was born into a wealthy WASP society family but chose to devote her life to understanding the 'father-wound'.

I also work with Vietnam vets.

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