Sunday Scribblings.... Pilgrimage
There was only one place outside of Buenos Aires that I really wanted to get to during my visit to my son at Christmas-time, and that was the town of Quilmes. And specifically, I wanted to visit the cemetary there, to pay my respects at the resting-place of May Maxwell. An American Baha'i, who lived most of her life in Canada, and was known as the "Mother of the Canadian Baha'i community", she passed away in Buenos Aires in 1940, and knowing I would be that close to her grave, I felt drawn to go to pay my respects, to say a little prayer.
Sylvia, the tour guide who took us around the city one day, knew nothing about a cemetary in Quilmes, but said she'd find out, and make arrangements for a driver to bring us out there. It's normally a 40-minute drive, but we chose to leave at noon, which of course, had us sitting in slow traffic as we traversed the city. I didn't mind that much, as it gave me a chance to people-watch. How do people manage to look so cool and elegant in this heat? was my constant wondering question!
We passed by skyscrapers and bridges, parks and schools, the port, blocks of apartments... out to the city's outskirts where odd little groupings of rough huts were obviously also home to some of the poorest of the city's people. On we went, and soon found ourselves traversing the streets of Quilmes, which was a far bigger town than we'd expected. I was glad we hadn't opted to travel by train. Who knows how far we'd have had to walk to get to the cemetary from the station?
As soon as our driver had left us off, just inside the gates of the cemetary, I began to walk down the path, and just a short distance along, I spotted what I knew was May Maxwell's gravestone. I'd seen a picture, and it is very distinctive.
What a peaceful spot it was. The only sounds were gentle birdsong and what seemed like far-distant traffic. There was no special ritual I needed to perform. A few silent prayers, a few moments communing with the spirit of a woman who had given so much to my faith, whose daughter became the wife of the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, (and whose home I had the pleasure of visiting during my 1991 pilgrimage to the Holy Land).
As I began to explore the area around the grave, I realised that quite a few Baha'is have been buried in the vicinity, so the gravestones about bore, in Spanish, phrases and quotes from our Writings. Some, I could identify, and others I could only repeat the words without being sure of their meaning. I found it very comforting to encounter the symbols and words of my Faith here, and I was so glad that my son and I had made this small pilgrimage, that I had visited her resting-place and paid my respects.
This "pilgrimage" is for this week's Sunday Scribblings. There was a problem with Mr Linky on the site, but it seems to be fixed now. If not, check the Sunday Scribblings comments section for links to other pilgrimages.