In my copy of Simone Weil’s Waiting for God I keep an art postcard given me by my friend Rhona. It is a colour photograph of a group of sculpted figures atop an interior column of a Spanish Romanesque church. The church is St. Martin of Fromista, a traditional pilgrimage stop on the Camino de Santiago.
Rhona and I visited there together, spending a lavishly quiet hour looking up at the hundreds of human and animal figures the eleventh-century artisans carved into the stone capitals. Some of these stone-beings tell us stories we immediately recognize, like that of the naked Eve and soberly attired Adam beneath the tree with its enticing, and one fatal, fruit. But there are other figures, joined together in either torment or ecstasy, whose stories are long lost, gone with the medieval artists and worshippers who knew their plots intimately.