Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Healing Ground

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Healing Ground

Article excerpt

Mimi was going to take me to her special place, some kind of sacred healing ground, though she never said whose. For over a year walking had caused me great pain, and none of the doctors I had seen gave me any help. I viewed Mimi's invitation as an excuse for an outing. I know the country around here pretty well, but when Mimi started turning down one twisting dirt road after another at some point I knew I was lost. Mimi's a reliable person, nothing of the fruitcake in her. When she finally stopped, the first thing I noticed was a hole in the side of the hill surrounded by boulders. "What's that?" I said. "An Irish monk lived in there some time in the sixteenth century," she said. "The Indians took care of him. They thought he was a holy man." "Do I have to crawl in there?" I asked. "Oh no, nothing like that," she said. "They say he lived in that hole for thirty years, praying all the time." "I wonder what happened to him. Did the Church make him a saint?" I said. "Something ate him, a bear or a mountain lion. The Indians thought it was a mountain lion," she said. "Mimi," I said, "did you bring me all the way out here just to tell me this story, not that it isn't a great story, 'cause it is, but I'd also love to see this `healing ground,' is that possible? …

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