Evening in Conques
If you read my posts you already know how fascinated I was with Conques’ Abbey church of Saint Foy . Knowing that we would begin the second stage of the Camino from this point was a source of joy during the previous months. The fact that we had to give up at the last minute gave me a true feeling of grief. And then we had the idea of taking the car and drive to Conques at least for a nocturnal visit . So we were late in the evening on our way to Conques. It was fascinating to pass through the same green hills and peaceful valleys that we had walked during the previous two days. The sense of distance we had walked through deepened and led to feeling of satisfaction. A handsome pheasant by the side of the road, two white horses and a sunset in purple and pink, completed a pastoral scene. The narrow road was twisting again and again toward the village. It was exactly nine o’clock when we parked the car and the church’s bells greeted us. The sense of joy was overwhelming. We managed to get there on time.
The Abbey church of Saint Foy
There was a large crowd at the square in front of the church, listening to Friar Jean-Daniel. It was very similar but very different from our last visit. In September it was frozen and dark, and now there was still light in the sky and pleasant weather caressed us. But can one enter twice into the same river ? Happily, the experience was different but no less powerful than the first time. We entered the church and climbed the stairs to the upper gallery. The organ was playing and the music echoed and amplified the charm of the place. We walked slowly, enjoying every angle, every carving, enjoying the light that colored the stone in golden yellow. For me it was a spiritual experience of beauty and peace and perfection. When we left, I said to Doron, “Now I feel that we can re-start our Camino”. Once again we stood and admired the 12th century tympanum and its 124 sculpted figures. It was very late when we left Conques. The way back to Figeac was rainy and in total darkness but the pleasure justified the effort. We were happy.
Tomorrow we will get up and start walking again.
Even now that we’re back home I still think about the magic of Conques’s church. What attracts me there? Why do I want to return again? It seems to me that the answer lies in the simplicity of the structure. The church is built of pale stone with carvings and has no pictures or paintings. The gallery floor is reminiscent of Greek temples and the pipe-organ’s music creates inner silence. It is a unique place.
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