The gathering at Glenwood Springs Community Center, yesterday and this morning, was the most emotionally intense of the three Commemorative events I’ve attended, marking Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to North America in 1912. The events in San Francisco and in Salt Lake City were exquisite, spiritually uplifting events, as was this one. They were brief, where this weekend’s event was spread out, time-wise.
San Francisco was the largest Baha’i event I’ve ever attended. That I had a great time there tells me I am making strides in socializing, even where I am a shrimp in the ocean. There were over 2,000 people, but, probably because I have friends in the Bay Area already and because we had the “ice-breaker” of a walk around Lake Merritt in Oakland, the day before, I felt more at home than I did at my last huge gathering in 1985. (I don’t count the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conferences, in Phoenix, because I always feel comfortable at “home” events.)
Salt Lake City was a small gathering, but I also enjoyed it greatly. This, too, is progress on the “me” front, because I did something spontaneous.
This weekend, though, was a riveting amalgam of high-level scholarship, reunion with long-lost friends and the fading, but still inspiring colours of a Colorado High Country autumn. The intimacy with which I was able to connect with Abdu’l-Baha and His life brought tears of joy to my eyes, which is not something for which I’m noted.
Here is the venue, Glenwood Springs Community Center.
The mountain backdrop is showing the rust-colours of iron-rich soil.
Session in Glenwood Springs Commemoration of Abdu’l-Baha’s Visit, in 1912- on Sept. 29, 2012. Mrs. Bushra Bruss presented on the topic of Abdu’l-Baha’s sojourn in Egypt, in 1910-11.
This morning’s presentations featured period-piece drama and a scholarly talk, both continued from yesterday’s session.
The two ladies above are playing the roles of two fin-de-siecle women in California, who knew Abdu’l-Baha. This dramatization is excerpted from a film in progress, entitled “The Luminous Journey”, by Tim and Anne Perry. Below, Kathryn Hogenson speaks on the topic of Phoebe Hearst and the Baha’i Faith, which she has thoroughly researched and on which she has written a fascinating, well-ordered book, entitled “Lighting the Western Skies”.
Today would have been Penny’s 58th birthday. That, and the intensity of seeing so many old friends from our days on the Navajo Nation, heightened the emotional intensity of this weekend, for me.
I will always hold the encounters and experiences of this past month, very high among the journeys of my life- right up with our pilgrimage to the Baha’i Holy Places in Israel and in London (1982), our teaching trips to Guyana and to South Dakota/Nebraska (1984) and our years in Korea (1986-92). Spirituality will be much more a part of my work and my travels, going forward.
As I left Glenwood Springs, headed for the Denver suburb of Northglenn, for a visit with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, the foliage in Glenwood Canyon was still bright, though it has peaked.
The Denver area will be my venue tomorrow, feeling like a home away from home.