A MEMORABLE PLACE
Pilgrim keeps his promise
SPECIAL TO THE SUN
When I was 10 years old, I read a book about Glastonbury Tor and told my mom that one day I would visit England and stand on the rocky peak overlooking the town. I could not explain it at the time, nor can I now, but I felt a connection to the place that transcended a child's curiosity.
Last fall, 10 years later, I had the opportunity to study in England, and with no hesitation I booked the first train to Glastonbury.
Legend has it that 2,000 years ago Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus drank at the last supper, to Glastonbury, a tiny hamlet in southwestern England steeped in early Christian lore. The Arthurian legend is also deeply rooted here -- some claim Glastonbury as Arthur's kingdom of Avalon.
Visitors today will find quiet streets lined with spiritual bookshops, vegetarian restaurants and boutiques selling crystals, healing tonics and religious art.
A friend and I arrived on a blustery, gray, typically English day, and from the main street entered the portal onto the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey. My heart jumped when in the distance I saw the Tor (an ancient Celtic word for "hill") rising above the trees topped by a tower, the only remaining edifice of the medieval Church of St. Michael.
We strolled along cobblestone paths that made their way around the Abbey ruins and passed the supposed resting place of King Arthur. My friend remarked, as I had noticed, that the grounds had a remarkably calming effect.
It soon began to drizzle, so we hastened our pace toward the Tor. After a short climb up a muddy, wooded road we arrived at the base of the hill. The wind began to pick up as we ascended the winding stone path, and halfway up, the rain began coming down heavily and the wind worsened. We held onto a bench (cemented to the ground for reasons that were now obvious) and screamed into each other's ears over the wind, trying to decide what to do. We considered returning to lower ground, but I wasn't about to turn back after getting this far.
We must have looked ridiculous climbing that hill, waddling and hunched over almost on all fours to lower our centers of gravity. But I didn't care. At that moment I was a pilgrim, and nothing could stop me from reaching my goal.
As we stood in the sanctuary of the tower on the top of Glastonbury Tor wiping rain from our faces, I remembered the promise I had made to my mom a long time ago.
I made it, Mom. The view was incredible.
Brian Andrews lives in Cockeysville.
MY BEST SHOT
A barn's inner strength
By John Rosapepe, Chesterfield, Va.
This is the centerpiece of the Pete French Round Barn, a circular barn built about 1880, in eastern Oregon. The 30-foot-high center juniper pole and its umbrella-type truss support rafters that radiate like the spokes of a bicycle wheel.
Carol Stephens, Jakarta, Indonesia
"Imagine a place with no taxes and no crime, where a wealthy sultan provides free education and medical care. Add rain forests, orangutans and the charm of Southeast Asia, and you could only be in Brunei. My husband and I spent two days in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, surrounded by modern mosques and exotic water villages dating back to the days of Magellan and the spice trade."
Paul laun, Chester
"This picture, taken by my sister, was of my first visit to the Grand Canyon, shortly after sunrise. The Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular sites in the world. I can't believe I waited so long to get there."
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