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A Cathedral Without Walls

Posted on by Andrew Reynolds
“If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
 
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
 
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
 
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
 
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.”
Lao Tzu

 

As a citizen living in today’s world of electronic gizmos and 24/7 societies, I think it’s vitally important to remember to take a breath and unplug from the day-to-day reality and enjoy the simple aspects of life. Knowing how much TVs, phones, and computers can do for us, I still think the minimalist pleasures of strolling down a trail surrounded by fresh pine trees while listening to nature’s symphony is the best path for reflection, meditation, and inner peace. And if there’s anything this world needs more of… it’s undoubtedly peace.

With this in mind, I adventured to a place considered to be one of the most tranquil and spiritual areas in all of New England–the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, NH.

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Founded by Douglas and Sibyl Sloane in 1945 in honor of their son who died during World War II, the cathedral was a remarkable project from the very start. Not only did the Sloanes dedicate a shrine to pay homage to fallen war heroes like their son, but they  also hoped to create a “cathedral without walls.”

By breaking down the barriers and welcoming people of all faiths, creeds, religions, and spiritual beliefs, the Sloanes hoped that the open-air environment would foster more interfaith understanding in an ultimate effort to bring about world peace. And so, after careful planning, the Sloanes’ pastoral farmstead became not only a national memorial for our fallen heroes, but a beacon for peace as well as religious tolerance.

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Chapels like this one along the main trail present quiet spots perfect for meditating or praying.

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The trailside gardens, which are beautifully-maintained, enkindle an inspiring atmosphere that is completely harmonious with nature.

After winding through the trail past the gardens and the cemetery, we reached the main cathedral grounds, which offers my favorite view of Mt. Monadnock by far.

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Mt. Monadnock sits in the background behind the historic Altar of Nations.

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The spectacular view of Monadnock.

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The tall pines, which the park is aptly named after, provide a natural frame for the cathedral and amplify its calming aura.

Although we haven’t achieved world peace as a society yet, the Cathedral of the Pines provides a foundation on which the future can build upon.

What’s your favorite view of Mt. Monadnock?

Happy trails as always!

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About Andrew Reynolds

Howdy folks! My name is Andrew Reynolds. I've lived in New Hampshire for more than 4 years, and I recently graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from Keene State College. To put it simply, I'm a writer and photographer who loves everything about the outdoors--including but not limited to kayaking, mountain-biking, fishing, swimming, camping, backpacking, hiking, rock-climbing, picnicking, walking the dog(s), and meditating at a peaceful vista. If I had to describe myself (and, therefore, my blog) in three words, I would choose the following: curious, adventurous, and quirky. I think curious fits because of my interest and passion in learning and education, which pushes me to research on my own as well as talk to the experts about the science and history behind our environment (ecology, geology, biology, astronomy, etc.). Adventurous is representative because of my everlasting wanderlust and dedication to adventuring to the state's countless "hidden gems," tranquil day-trips, and other interesting escapades. Lastly, but most importantly, I chose quirky because of the perspective I like to offer through this blog. Being disconnected from our natural environment has intense consequences, not only for our personal health and sanity, but indirectly for the well-being of others--present and future. One of the biggest reasons for why I enjoy the outdoors so much is because it's the most satisfying way for me to break out of the bubble, stray from the hustle-bustle, and gather a fresh outlook on what's truly important in life. I hope that documenting and sharing my experiences in this blog will serve as a vehicle to inspire more people to understand, care for, and appreciate our environment, as well as the health of our planet and its inhabitants. Happy (and safe) trails everyone! View all posts by Andrew Reynolds →
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