(The Nepsis Foundation)
Reverend Stephen Frost Ph.D.
Chris and Stephanie
Recently, my mother and I visited my great-grandfather’s town just below the High Sierras in California. His town is located in an area of transition between the rolling grass hills and giant oaks below and the snowy Sierra crags above. I’ve always felt uncomfortable when we visited that middlin’ place. Though, I have to admit that my mother and grandmother tell charming stories about their childhood experiences in such a gulch-sunk town. The place has significance to this story because I began a cycle of pilgrimages there twenty years ago. Pilgrimages that I’ve completed recently, that have either been the purpose of my life or the ruin of it.
Who can tell why these pilgrimages started in the first place; young man coming-of-age, independence, adventure carte blanche, destiny. There certainly were all the usual justifications. But I have had to make other justifications since; to secular, even ecclesial authorities. Many boundaries have been trespassed since that first naive journey. Then, twenty years ago, it was only a quest of human curiosity. It has since become a pilgrimage trespassing the boundaries between this world and the “other” one.
Now at this conclusion, I am heartened to visit once again the old family plots in the cemetery and to find it handsome with poppies, roses– wild things. The rocky hills are ripe again with an infinity of green blades.
I came here to start that first journey by visiting the graves of my ancestors who first settled in California. My great-grandfather came here in 1850 during the gold rush. It was during this same period between 1850 and 1853 that half the population of the California Coastal Indians disappeared.1 They were exterminated. I’m not blaming my ancestor for that, but that conflict typifies the subject of this story.
This story is about a battle. And since this is a story without beginning or end, it is good to start where a beginning was an end.
For CHRIS & STEPHANIE contents, select this FICTION PAGE from the UCB site.