The following comments are from a few of the sojourners we’ve hosted over the past 6 years:
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to stay here. It has been a meaningful experience, freely given and graciously received. It seems so simple, but, it is infinitely easier to find a resort than a quiet place to be alone for awhile. All your thoughtfulness, large and small, was not unnoticed. I came here to spend time in meditation, and did so, although, as the days went by I found that being in the desert and listening to the land and the beings ‘out there’ was no less rewarding. You all are doing a wonderful thing by protecting it. And then, to open the dialogue between sojourners and the land, well, that can only help us to learn to feel deeply for our earth, a “wordless lesson” and “effortless deed” as the Tao Te Ching would say. I for one will leave
here inspired by that spirit, feeling that I can make a difference, and knowing that trying is the important part, the path being the goal and success being something only I can weigh.
– Nurse, Bisbee, AZ
This was a time for me to learn from the raven about being present in this moment and place and playing, to be separated from the many golden calves with which I distract myself, to appreciate that the true path includes wandering, travail and wavering faith.
– Psychologist, Redmond, WA
More fully than ever before, I entrusted my self to inspiration (the relational voice of God). I learned to trust my perception of God’s moment-by-moment inspiration in a more continuous way, increasingly setting aside my dependence upon impulse, intuition, and reasoning. Step by step I was led to hidden, beautiful places in the desert… and in
my soul. Anticipating aridity, I instead found sustenance. Miracles of nature, miracles of the heart and spirit. Gift upon gift from God: life, creativity, beauty, tenacity, patience, joy, peace, hope, love, and faith. The desert is a place of anticipation. Will it rain? When? How much? What surprised me most is that the desert’s anticipation is characterized by life rather than death, by patient trust instead of resigned acceptance, by joyful fruitfulness and not fearful hoarding. I choose now to live with a similar inspired anticipation with regard to all of life – my health, relationships, vocations, and walk with God.
– Seminary Professor, St. Paul, MN
Thank you Francis, MaryLou, CHA and all the builders and caretakers for a most beautiful, exquisitely simple place…. I am more convinced I want to design a simpler life – what a good start – it’s doable at least for 5 days! …My “simple” sojourn is a luxury in the midst of consumerism and poverty and wars. I guess I can bring back a little of the peace and joy the earth has kindly shared and sprinkle it on the general “compost” heap!
– Psychiatrist, Tucson, AZ
My solo with the Cascabel Hermitage Association was a great experience. To begin, the members — particularly Pearl and David — are warm and friendly people with such a wonderful relationship with the land that it makes it difficult not to feel comfortable right away. At night, when it is dark and chilly, a person on solo does not feel isolated and frightened but embraced by the Earth and stars. In addition, the desert as a landscape is perfect for solo because it is subtle enough to encourage meditation and contemplation but entirely alive to one who chooses to “tune-in” to the surrounding environment. …All in all, my solo in the Sonoran desert refreshed me as an individual but reinforced the feeling that there is a greater, grander world of which I am a part. Thank you.
– Student, Earlham College, Indiana
Not feeling so well, physically, although disappointing to me initially, forced me inside much of the time and so, I got straight to work, which was the point anyway. So I’d wake up, make some coffee, write, take a short walk, work some more, take a long walk, make
some food. I love the rhythm my days take here, and being subject to that rhythm. And I loved writing. It’s been awhile since I’ve loved it so much, difficult and frustrating it is, mostly – when I even devote minute moments of time to it. I remembered that quote – I forget by who, though – that writers are people for whom writing is more difficult than most! It was marvelous. I have a new record to make this summer, and it’s a great relief to know that I’ve a few more songs for it, songs I’m quite pleased with. And I finally found the stream! Yippee!
– Musician, Brooklyn, NY
There is no time here, only motion. The rising of the sun, the setting thereof; the moon wandering her path, the wind making itself known as it flows through the spines of the great saguaro. There is no time her, only the majesty of the Eternal Now. And although the
rocks and I have one thing in common – that we came from the dust; I somehow have the special privilege of being a conscious observer of this same majesty.
– Window Cleaner, Boulder, CO
It makes me sad to say that places and opportunities like my time with the Hermitage Association are terribly rare. It doesn’t really make sense that this is so, since it honestly feels so much more natural to see night with night eyes, to settle down to sunsets
and rustle up at sunrise. It’s important to hear the world breathe without so many people zooming about… Every human at some point in their life should learn how to sit in the desert or anyway to sit among and side by side with plants and beetles and pieces of crumbling mountain. It is valuable to hear another language than your own… Such an experience is a living experience that no individual should be denied. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
– Student, Earlham College, Indiana
I felt very grateful to be on the ridge, and grateful too for the vision and determination of those who have preserved the sound of the wind’s sweep here. As I walked back toward
the hermitage in the twilight, I was moved by the “pied beauty” of the mountains and louds. I thought of Jesus’ desert sojourn, and of his temptations there. I wondered if one of his temptations was to remain in the desert, to stay on hermitage.
– Professor, Toronto, Canada
When I arrived I was excited for the adventure, but my heart was wearied by the world. As I leave, my heart and soul are nourished and happy, but there is no excitement to leave this deep and spiritual place. But I have been fed, in this house, in this place. Watching the sun on the bright white walls; hearing the wind rush around the sentinel-like
saguaro; preparing water to bathe; watching sunsets from a rock; reading by candle light; sleeping soundly in silence. These blessings and more have brought me back to my self, my Spirit. This place is a holy and sacred place.
– BorderLinks Staff, Tucson, AZ