Arrived here yesterday after taking the Southwestern Chief from LA. The journey was long - 20 hours through the vast tracts of New Mexico, across the Desert and through canyons. Glad I decided to take the train - and glad that I booked a 'roomette'. At least I was able to sleep a little in a bed and have the privacy of my own compartment. The line to Colorado Springs is freight-only now so I had to leave the train at Raton, New Mexico and take a special bus. Thre were only four other passengers on the Greyhound, so it wasn't too crowded.
The days before had included a tour along the famous Mulholland Drive; dinner at an old Piano Bar; a visit with Fr. Ian Davies at St. Thomas', West Hollywood; time with my old friend Fr. Ed Sniencieski, and a day with Steve Wright. A full programme! Now it's goodbye to the West Coast and hello to the mid-West.
Colorado Springs (CS) is over 5000ft above sea level and the sun is still shining. The Mercy Centre has about another 15 people stying here, mostly on a three month Sabbatical Programme arranged by the Centre. CS is (in)famous for its fundametalist churches; I had a taste of it in talking with someone on the bus from Raton and the usual connection between Republicanism and these mega-churches was clearly apparant. My friend asked me about Protestantism in the UK and, as I reflected, I realised how the emergence of Methodism had linked our religious perception into the socilaist movement in a way that makes any similarities impossible. Maybe that's one of the reasons why these fundamentalist churches don't do well in the UK (apart from the fact that people aren't so - gullable?).
The Centre is pleasant and has great views of Pikes Peak - at 14000+ft, the tallest mountain in this region. The only drawback is that it about 20 yards from Interstate 25 and the railroad tracks... You can't get away from the noise. This aftenoon I walked into the nearby nature reserve (Sanderman Park), but even there the traffic could be heard. Ifthe weather stays fine, I might make an expedition up the mountain tomorrow. ZAfter that, the Retreat ebgins.