By the River Piedra . . .

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"By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept" is in my estimation the best novel written by Paulo Coelho.

A fitting title for this page would be "By the River Piedra, I Found Peace at Last." "Fiitng" my story, yes, but alas it does not fit in the banner at the head of each page of this series of picture pages.

This is the place where the heroine in my story, Piri, or Pyrene, comes to take up her calling as a teacher, prophet, healer and midwife. It is here she receives her revelations from the nymphs who represent and serve the goddess worshipped by her, and by the surrounding community.

According to some, at her death she became one of those nymphs, inhabiting the most beautiful waterfall in this wondrous place and healing those who have a need.  Typicaly they wade in the waters below the fall, or if that is too hard for them they walk near enough, or are carried near enough, to feel her spray.

To appreciate the peace she found here, you need to read the story.  To appreciate why anyone can find a profound peace here, keep scrolling.

Please note that it is my modus operandi to save the best for last except that in this case it is the third page that gives the best views from this wondrerous place. The fourth page gives a view of the park associated with this water wonderland.  The fifth page gives some views of a nearby locale important to my story.

So, we start here with a description of the setting of this wonderful place, and will get into the heart of it in two more pages:

The grounds of the Piedra (=rock) Monastery are set in the midst of rather dry hills, some of which may have pine trees on them in their higher reaches:

When we turn to the left from where the above photo was taken we see more trees, many in fall dress, then we might have expected from the above view.  If one suspects a river runs through this area, coming out of the nearby uplands to the right, one is correct:

And when we turn even further left we see that we are entering the grounds of interest.  A monastery has been there for a very long time, since the 1200s. Christians, like their pagan forebears, knew a holy place when they saw one.  The rock out of which the monastery is built is like the pinkish rock in the foreground, a volcanic tuff deposited into a limestone setting.  

Climbing up the dry hillside on the other side of the wooded area reveals a Medieval fortress built to protect this place.  The monastery is in the background, but we will not go there this trip:

The hills behind the fortress were quite dry, though there was plentiful brush and a few trees.  Just a few miles behind these hills lie slightly higher hills that catch the water that runs into the small canyon that lies between the fortifications and the monastery:

Looking across that small canyon below in the direction where the 'green zone' begins, allows one to see over the top of this green zone to see that it is set in the midst of relatively dry, rocky hills:

Moving down the path from the fortress brought one abruptly from a dry area into that green vegetated area:

And just what makes this abrupt transition possible? Let's follow that path into the greenery:


And once in the greenery, let's look down.  Ah, it doesn't take long to find the answer: WATER!

On the next two pages, we will look at this water.

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