woensdag 6 augustus 2008

Spider-invasion of Taizé

Sunday, 27 of July (written during my trip in Burgundy)

We had many things on the list to do when being on our break. One that perhaps some might find rather strange, is going to Taizé. It is one one of these spots in France where you go to find yourself and sing out your love for God, the saints, Jezus and the world in general.. In the world of today it seems to be a rather unpopular destination to head for but was I in for a surprise.

We visited that day the local market of Beaune, bought shiny olives and tomatoes, goat cheese, baquets, water melons and melons de Charentes and litters of water. These were the ingredients of our divine picnic. The meal took place in front of a petite chateaux and in the back of vineyard! Once our stomachs were filled we headed for the real thing: the winecellar.

Being in a state of Delirium we headed for Cluny. For me that brings back so many memories. Professor Sneyers, one of my favourite professors ever, called Cluny a true paradise for the Romanic architecture and all what it stood for at that time. I didn’t remember that many pictures of that place but of Clugny I, II and III is not that much is left over. You have to use your imagination to call alive the city Clugny once was.

Here Napoleon passed through and so many stones were recycled to wipe out all the clergical monuments. Well Clugny did a very good job indeed! Most stones you can find in the wall of the city. For some people this might sound rather harsh. The modern architect finds this not such a bad idea. You create open spaces for new creations. The art-historian that I am thinks differently. They did not just tear down buildings but also wiped out a way of life.
Clugny was in medieval times the example many monasteries based their way of life on. A monastery had to be able to be self efficient and at the same time it had to be place for contemplation and soul-searching. So while walking through Clugny you encountered history in very surprising corners.

But revenge is always sweet and because of the sake of Professor Sneyers and my whole course of Romanic Art I left the half of my pineapple juice in a shop on the floor! Eat that Clugny!

Remorse became that part of me and fortunately we were heading next for Taizé. And all Clugny stood for you will find here. Tons of people that are trying to spend time together in a very peaceful place, sing, reflect about their faith, celebrate their love for that drive that makes us go on. I was amazed by the number of people that were in that same spot. It is hard to describe what I saw and felt but is was sure a special experience.

One of my travel companions had a very different experience going on. Toilets are very important while travelling and the experienced traveller knows that you have to be able to stand a bit smell and dirt. I was told by the experienced Taizé-people that going to the smallest room is not that much fun. But we found some rather clean ones at the bar!

Appearently W liked them that much that he was spending quite some time in there. When he finally appeared he was looking pale. ‘I was attacked by a spider in there!’ He even had to sit down and shake off the fear. ‘You know they jump and bite, and so I tried to sit very still!’ W then was so kind to tell us about his anarchaphobic tendency. I guess if we could have looked for a spiritual person in order to help him out. But instead we ended in a field eating (water)melons and sharing horror-stories. Splashing, jumping, biting, creeping and spooky eight legged animals became the main ingredient of our dinner conversations.

W was so kind to share with us his unforgettable spider tale. ‘There was once a spider in my bathroom and one of my guests run out of my bathroom, telling me that a spider was having a sanitary stop. I went in there armed with my flying bat in order to send that beast to the eternal battlefields. Just took one look, aimed and went for the kill. I just like to hit once and hope then that they are dead. Well this one had a very splashing end! My whole body was covered with small bits and pieces of the black enemy! ‘

By the time we were heading for the church I was feeling spiders everywhere creeping down my body! It was then the six of us became part of one common rituals in Taizé: singing out our love and faith! I was the only who hadn’t done this before. When I entered the huge church and sat down on the ground I was soaked up in a spiral of emotions. Of course I have to admit that it was also nice to do what we people of Limburg are so good at: singing. And for once nobody cared if you sang off key!

One of the highlights during the service is the moment of silence. I always thought that you couldn’t make a crowd being silent for more then five seconds. Well, I was wrong. I suddenly was sitting amongst thousands of individuals who were silent for more then 10 minutes. It was there and then that you become part of that what Taizé stand for: trying to find back yourself and letting in all the thoughts and emotions. I even had the impression I was for a few seconds in a trance but then I felt suddenly eight legs crawling down my legs. Over and out all the peace I was looking for that hard.

We managed to get out of the church in time without being attacked and drove content and with peace in our hearts home. Guess what I was dreaming about that night?! And to make the spider-invasion complete there was this Garfield cartoon in the newspaper the next morning! Garfield got kidnapped by spiders! In oder to get rid of the spider tales one of my travel-companions is hoovering spider-webs! Let us hope that the spider knight will prevail!!!

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