Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Seton Castle: A Personal Reflection

Yesterday was a long day. I spent the morning on a variety of business matters, attended a funeral and hopped on a plane for a business trip, expecting to meet a friend for dinner in Dallas before turning in for the night. When the plane landed and I turned on my Blackberry, it was filled with messages about yesterday’s events in Santa Fe.

We travel to Santa Fe regularly, most recently in October, when I had the chance to check on the progress of the Castle restoration and have a very good meeting with the curator of the Seton collection for the Academy for the Love of Learning.

The Castle has been something of great interest to me since I first visited it over thirteen years ago.

I had been aware of the Castle for many years, since I have been a Seton enthusiast for a very long time. Although I have spent a lot of time in and around Santa Fe, I had never been to Seton Village or Seton Castle. One particular day, as I was perusing collectible books in antique book stores in Santa Fe (regrettably there aren’t nearly as many as there used to be), two different dealers suggested that we drive out to the Village and gave us directions. We took that a sign that this was the right day for such a visit.

We drove out to the Village and wandered around a bit and were finally directed to the Castle by a neighbor. I very rarely have knocked on the door of someone I do not know, so it was with great trepidation that, with my wife’s encouragement, I knocked on the door of Seton Castle. We were greeted by Dale Barber, Seton’s son-in-law, and husband of Dee Seton Barber. He invited us and told us that Dee was away for a few minutes but would soon be returning.

When she returned, Dee greeted us warmly and we talked. She gave us a tour of the Castle. I remember nearly every detail, including my first look at The Sleeping Wolf. Dee told us of the many pilgrims who made their way to the Castle and to her astonishment at their letters she was receiving from all over the world, especially from former Soviet bloc countries, including the Czech Republic, which told of Woodcraft groups that had remained active through the years on an underground basis. She told many more stories.

We stayed far longer than we had planned and the sun was setting when it came time to leave. I will always remember the sight of sunset from the porch of Seton Castle. At that point, it was perfectly clear to me why Ernest Thompson Seton and his wife Julia chose that particular site for their final home.

More to come

I hope other will choose to share their personal stories too.

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