that while he helped in the kitchen,
I take a walk along the "path of statues"
that Brother Rene had created.
"Wonderful!" I thought, "I want to see what he has done."
Of course, then another thought crossed my mind,
"Is it safe?" knowing that I would be alone.
But, I wouldn't admit that question to him.
After all, I was a grown woman now,
not a child or even young woman
as I had been years before when I visited.
Surely I had overcome my fears since then.
"Walk first through the garden
onto the blacktop road, until you get to the wooden gate,
then simply cross the highway, and you'll see the path,"
his instructions rang out.
I envisioned a short jaunt just off the highway. After all,
these were huge life-size statues
and how would they be able to transport them very far?
So off I went with rosary beads in hand, lips movin'...
"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you..." and me!
Over the highway I crossed that wet August morning
Quickly it became windy--turning this corner and that,
with a thickening forest of trees.
There was that question again.
"How safe is it for a woman to be on this path alone?"
My mind was telling me, "Be brave!"--my emotions,
I hate to admit it, "I'm afraid."
It was too early yet to make a decision to turn back,
so I thought I'd see what was around the next bend...
and the next bend.
Surely those statues would be visible any time.
Traversing hills up and down, round and round,
across bridges and then
real trouble--spider webs. You know what that means.
I was the first to venture out that morning.
And I hate spiders, but not only that--
"What if someone--some creepy woodsman
hung out there last night?"
near the forest areas in Montana
and terrible things have happened to people--
kidnapping, murders, bear attacks,
"Stop! Mind over matter," I thought,
I am not giving in to my fears."
I can always out run someone who tries to get me," I reasoned--
(after all I had on running shoes).
Timidly I came upon a clearing next to a big pond, and then
a steep flight of stairs leading to another level.
Bigger trouble now.
"It's going to be increasingly difficult to outrun anyone...
and I could fall and break..."
Frozen in an intense moment of a prevailing question--
"should I turn around now or go on?"
"I can not give in to my fears," I thought--
"this could be a great story--
if I live to tell it."
Up the steps, around more bends--
surely those statues are going to be...
but, the path was narrowing--trees still thickening--
isolation overtaking me--heart rate increasing
and no one would even hear me scream now. ..if I needed to.
I was too far from civilization.
"Ok, this just isn't prudent--after all--
prudence is a virtue," I reasoned,
"I'll just go and find someone to come back with me later."
But my mind wouldn't let my emotions control me.
"Where is your faith?" I questioned.
Finally I came to a large statue, though not life-size--
of St. Francis of Assisi.
"Intercede for me," I begged.
With my nearsighted vision, I thought I was now seeing
a person in the distance...but as I approached
it was only a statue of a black Madonna.
"O, I am so sorry, dear Lady, that I was afraid of you."
My very sentiment, "O God have mercy," seemed to emanate.