history, writing

Discovery in the Desert – WIPpet Wednesday

It’s my second week as a member of WIPpet and I almost forgot to post today. *whips self with wet noodle* I will skitter off to add Wednesdays to my Google calendar as soon as I’ve made this post, since I apparently can’t remember anything that I don’t have online reminders for. So, for today …

Today in history, on November 28, 1529, Magellan reached the Pacific. According to History.com, he traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific:

His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named “Pacific,” from the Latin word pacificus,meaning “tranquil.”

Apparently, at the end of this journey his men had no food and were reduced to cooking the leather of their equipment. But, he had discovered the now-named Straits of Magellan, facilitating travel from the Old World to the New.

So, I suppose I will focus my snippet today on some sort of discovery. This is yet to be revised, but hopefully it is not too hideous. It is from my Dark Ages adventure, in which Justus, the reluctant knight, must guide a barren woman (Richende) to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage.

Arriving in Jerusalem was not like Richende had pictured it in her mind, as she had done so many times over the long course of the trip. She did not feel the rise of spiritual ecstasy as they trod the earth packed by countless generations, sanctified by the presence of so many saints and by the Son of God himself. Rather, sensations of the purely physical kind overwhelmed her: the sight of the warren of squat brown buildings, the city walls broken in places, repaired clumsily in others, the arches and towers and chapels, synagogues and mosques, the stalls of vendors interspersed with beggars holding their cups and old women clinging to the arms of their granddaughters. Sad-eyed donkeys and bleating goats and gobbling hens added to the clamor. Over all of this the oppressive, burning heat, hot breezes churning about the stewing mass of people. The rising din of voices and the sounds of daily activity hung like a pall over the city.

Here, in this place, could be found the hill where Christ was crucified, Golgotha, the stations of the cross that chronicled his journey along the Via Dolorosa to his death, the famed Garden of Gethsemane where he spent the night before. All this was here, and more, yet all she could think about was Justus, a man who she had no right to hold in such affection. But, oh, such a precious man, who had fought for her honor and her desires, and who even now lay weak and insensible on a travois, head jostling with every bump and dip in the road. Justus, whose body was pierced in the side even as Christ, too, was pierced in the side as he hung on the cross. Blasphemy, she knew, to think such a thing, though now, as ever, she could not seem to halt the contrary path of her thoughts.

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13 thoughts on “Discovery in the Desert – WIPpet Wednesday”

  1. Excellent piece. Your descriptions are wonderful, allowing me to really picture the scene in my head. And I love the internal conflict Richende is dealing with.

    Oh, and no need to whip yourself with a wet noodle. The flying monkeys take care of . . . um . . . enforcement. Mwahahahaha

      1. You will, I’m sure of that, but like Richende, don’t be surprised if you discover it’s both more and less than you expected. You’ll enjoy it though… I’m sure of that.

  2. Oh, I adore this passage! Beautiful language, and I understand her feelings of an exparience not being what one hoped, or remembers. I get the same feeling at Christmas sometimes. And the comparison between Justus and Christ… just beautiful.

    Don’t feel badly about almost forgetting. Most weeks I only remember because it’s also garbage day, here. 😉

    1. Thanks so much! My friend’s father went to Jerusalem some years ago, and was disappointed by the experience. He was expecting it to be transformative, I suppose, and instead it was just a place. I suppose that’s what I was remembering when I wrote this. I would so love to go there, though. Such an ancient, important city. It really intrigues the history nerd in me!

    1. Thanks so much for the welcome! You all are such a kind and wonderful group! No, I haven’t yet been to Jerusalem. I would love to go someday. There are so many places in the world, though! And so little money to get there. Guess I’d better start saving …

  3. Great description and great feeling. You get across the sensory overload and the internal, emotional struggle very well. I also find it interesting how you chose to “mirror” wounds.

  4. Ooo… Very nice. 🙂 I like that you didn’t “reform” Medieval thought-process into something more modern. A lot of authors like to write-out the religion that permeated so many aspects of life back then whether the people following it understood it, truly, or not. That she expects spiritual woohoo and feels guilty for not having it is wonderful. 🙂

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