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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 3, September 2014

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Adelaide B. Shaw
Millbrook, New York, USA


El Camino Real

Mid-afternoon, mid-week. No tourists around other than ourselves. Doves cooing in the mission belfry. The hot breeze carries the scent of eucalypts shading the adobe church. Cooler inside. Quiet. Even our whispers are too loud. We stand at the back of the church in silence.

bands of sunlight
the dance of desert dust
filling up the pews

Pottery, serapes, worn out tools, drawings and paintings, photographs. Each mission has a museum or some area which houses artifacts and the history of the missions and of each mission in particular. A 600 mile road connecting 21 settlements from San Diego to Sonoma, with missions every 30 miles, equal to a day’s ride on horseback.

We visit on separate occasions those missions within a few hours’ drive from where we live in Los Angeles: San Fernando, San Gabriel, Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, all similar in style if not in size.

manicured shadows
on the mission grounds
the sweat of the past

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