Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Serra Cross

Along the Mission Trail

After touring the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura, California, back in 2011, I failed to notice the giant wooden cross high on a hill above the church.  For anyone touring this mission, I highly recommend taking the time to drive up the windy road to this park overlooking the city.  I returned a few months ago to do just that.  The views up here are fantastic and the cross is historical.

Father Junipero Serra founded the Ventura mission in 1782 and soon after, a large wooden cross was placed on the hillside as a guidepost for travelers.  I love the idea of this--dusty, weary padres spotting the cross miles away, relieved that their destination was finally within reach.  A hot meal, a bed, a roof over their heads--all within an hour's walk.  I can imagine them quickening their pace.  I can imagine them getting their second (or third) wind.  Haven't travelers done that everywher the world over?  Just when you think you're about to collapse from exhaustion, a signpost or landmark appears that fills you with renewed energy.  Yes!  I'm almost there!

Of course, the original wooden cross is long gone, but there have been a continuous set of replacements over the centuries.  This one has been here since 1941.  It is weather worn and simple.  Oddly beautiful.  I'm glad I returned.

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