It is the cheerful chirping of birds I hear first as I slowly wake up on a San Miguel morning. This is followed shortly after by the pealing of church bells. For some reason, both these sounds evoke powerful memories of my childhood. Attending church weekly was a big part of that childhood and to this day, wherever in the world I am … (and for some reason, my travels seem more often than not, to coincide with Easter) … I sit quietly in churches of all denominations, with services held in various languages. I pay ‘no nevermind’ to whether I understand the language. I have sat through services at the Vatican, where Easter mass was held in Latin by Pope John Paul II, to services in Greek Orthodox churches, Romanian, Hungarian, Spanish, Hindu Ashram Ganga Aartis, Buddhist temples and yes, I have even once sat on the floor of a mosque in Egypt. Sitting down, whether in church pews, marble stairs, or floors in temples and mosques, never ceases to fill me with comfort. Religions at their finest should bind and join us as members of the human race and should never divide us. If I have discovered anything in my many years as a nomadic waunderer, it is that we are all connected, whatever our languages, customs or religions. We all aspire to the same comforts in life … to love and be loved, kindness, compassion, companionship, comfort from outside and inside forces, nutritious food to fuel our bodies, a roof over our heads or perhaps not, as many prefer the outdoors if weather complies.
I am not particularly a religious person in any formal sense and the only church I attend with regularity, other than my restful stops at churches around the world, is located in nature … the mountains, the oceans, the forests, the deserts, the pristine mountain lakes and rivers … places that replenish and restore my heart and soul, filling me with peace, “a peace that passeth all understanding”. So rest my thoughts on this quiet Monday morning, following a week of Easter processions and celebrations in this most religiously Roman Catholic of cities, San Miguel de Allende.