This blue marble

– and yet it spins

Once upon a time there was a monastery

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800 years ago she stood as a safe haven and retreat for those wishing to know God and themselves. She was created to bring the Christian God closer to the people, to open their hearts with the help of Dominican monks. She also had business sense: in the heydays she provided shelter to produce up to four kinds of beer for the good Blackfriars.

But the greatest wars on Earth are always about religion. Faith is another word for subjective truth. Congregations loyal to Rome were not in fashion when the Reform spread northward from Germany.

Reform in the 16th century meant also reform of the buildings of worship. And so she was dismantled, piece by piece. Some of her brick was incorporated into the great cathedrals of Tallinn. Other pieces were scattered into buildings and city infrastructure around the Old Town.

But the vault of Power remains. As I stood still in the center of the room I could hear my own rambling mind. Why, I think heard something else, quietly swirling by the tip of my ear. Centuries later, the echoes of the chanting monks still bounce off the walls. The worn stone floors invited for a moment of tranquility in this crazy hurried world.

And then a lady tourist in great awe of the ceilings kicked the candle on the floor. It flew a good meter, splashing stearine as it went.  No more echoes of monks and no more impressions of power in the air. Amidst minor confusion, apologies, and good intentions we relit the toppled candle with a miniature matchbox strangely enough provided by the lunch restaurant just an hour ago as a gift to all customers.

Coincidence, perhaps, or perhaps not? One thing is certain: regardless of temples of worship and candle-lit moments, tranquility is a state of mind.


(Dominican monastery, Tallinn, Estonia; July 2014)

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