My web designer extraordinaire, Denise de la Cruz (http://www.duhkneez.com/), was burning the midnight oil last night pasting fourteen new colour shots of Lourdes into the Virgin Trails I photo album. These are pictures from my first visit when, for reasons lost in the murk of time, I shot only slides. The upshot, of course, is that I've hardly seen any of these pictures myself, except for the two or three times I've hauled out my slide projector (or rather, my friend Mark's slide projector) and cast them up on a white curtain (all kinds of funny ripples on the face of the basilica). The thing that struck me about them is how powerful the sunlight is. It was almost always misty and often raining in Lourdes in the morning. Then at mid-afternoon, just in time for the Eucharist Procession, the sun would come blazing through and everyone would say, "Ah, c'est un miracle!" The picture above shows pilgrims at the taps outside the Grotto, filling up their bottles with genuine Lourdes water.
My first two mp3s, with excerpts from Virgin Trails, are also up. They are very experimental, my first time in a studio staring at a mike and trying to imagine an audience. It's tough! And a lot of what I came up with didn't sound right to me, but I thought these tracks were all right. Next month I'll have some lively new stories from All the Good Pilgrims. You can listen to them in the car, or the shower, while vacuuming, or to help you sleep, or even while you're reading, if you like to hear the author's voice in stereo. Big big thanks to Helena Werren for getting me set up, telling me over and over I was doing fine, and then staying after work to edit out those little dry-mouth pops and heaves of breath before the beginning of sentences.