My last Palmyra post (of this adventure, anyway!).
The day after Pageant, the group of us decided to explore Palmyra. I’d been to all the sites before, but Palmyra is one of those places you can visit time and time again, and never find it dull and repetitive.
First off, after grabbing a quick bite to eat, we headed off to downtown Palmyra to visit the E.B. Grandin bookstore and the LDS Harvest store right next door to it. Oh, how I love the smell of books!! At LDS Harvest I had planned on buying myself a new set of Scriptures as mine are getting rather old and beaten up (sadly, I’m missing a section in the Bible Dictionary from Priest to Rameses), and have after many years been transformed into a chaos of colored verses that stumps even Sunday School teachers. Apparently, my color coding system is unintelligible.
Moving on, I couldn’t find a new set that I really liked, so went on to purchase a wonderful 12 color set of Scripture marking pencils, the first volume of The Work and the Glory by Gerald N. Lund (one of my all-time favorite authors), and a beautiful coffee table book called Reflections of Christ by Mark Mabry.
Oh, how I adore this book! I was first introduced to Mabry’s work during a seminary class when we watched the DVD of his photographs set to music. Reflections of Christ is a wonderful compilation of photographs that chronicle the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. These photos are o spectacular, you’d swear they are paintings. The scenes that are recreated – the Nativity, Baptism with John the Baptist, Walking on Water, Healing – are just amazing. I love, love, love it.
A bit later we took a tour of the E.B. Grandin building. Am I weird to admit that my favorite parts of the tour are the store front of the shop and the printing room? It smells of parchment and ink and binding leather. But my absolute favorite part of the Grandin building is the floor of the first level. They are utterly amazing – the original boards in near perfect condition. It always floors me (…no pun intended…) to think of all the people who have crossed those planks in the last 100 and some odd years. Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdry, Emma Smith, E.B. Grandin… not to mention all thoe since who have visited the building.
But enough about the floors.
Okay, okay, that’s it, I swear.
I find it astounding that the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed here. Grandin had only been in business around five years, and at that time, an order of 5,000 books was no small feat. It was printed 16 pages at a time, each word hand set with upper and lower case letters. Can you imagine the paper cuts? It took seven years to print, cut, bind and cover those 5,000 copies.
We also climbed to the top of Hill Cumorah. Okay, so we drove. It’s really huge hill! The view from the top is really lovely, you can see for miles and miles. My favorite time to visit is in early evening, around dusk, just as the sun is setting. You listen and hear the animals in the woods settling, and in the distance you can see the lights flicker on in the houses as night settles upon the county.
We then went to take a quick walk through the Sacred Grove. It’d been years since I’d had that opportunity. It is so beautiful, walking upon the winding paths through the saplings as the sun streams down through the bountiful branches, casting shadows through the leaves.
I was determined to find this tree I had sat beneath four years earlier. It was a huge, old tree with giant roots protruding from the base of it’s trunk, forming this cozy little spot to sit and think. There are a few hollows, higher up, that are home to various owls and smaller birds. It’s in this tiny little clearing, about 25 feet in diameter, surrounded by young, limber saplings. I always wonder how old this tree is, but really never want to know.
It’s a crazy thought, isn’t it, to be so very determined to find a single tree that is engrained in my memory among the thousands upon thousands in the grove? Yes, I realized it was.
But, crazy or no, I found her.
We had no time for me to sit beneath her branches for a while, nor nestle at her trunk for a time, but I was contented just to have the opportunity to snap a few photos of that special spot. My spot.
This is one of my favorite shots I was able to capture in the Sacred Grove. I love it for it’s wildness, and it’s lack of order, it’s perfection in it’s chaos. I wonder, to where did it once lead?