I had learned about this staircase many years ago. With my immersion in all things Thomas Merton this last week it was only natural that I had to visit this site. Merton's Abbey of Gethsemani is only about an hour away and he visited here at least nine times. Of course, during his days the village was just beginning its resurrection and the images Merton made in the village showed a much different reality. I've never seen a photograph made by Merton of this staircase but he said of it:
...marvelous double winding stair
going up to the mysterious clarity
of a dome on the roof...quiet sunlight
I was thrilled to see a new book on Merton's writings and photographs here at Pleasant Hill. Naturally I've added it to my collection of books from this trip!
When I finally return home to Maine next week I will have days of work ahead of me putting this folio together. I will share it with you when it is done. This may inspire you to go in search of a place of profound beauty to photograph. Architectural studies are always a fascinating way to contemplate Man's striving for perfection.