Cynthia and I enjoyed a splendid private retreat at St. Mary Monastery last Wednesday through Saturday. We prayed the Office with the sisters, took walks in the snow, slept plenty, ate just more than enough, read entire books, and talked and talked and talked.
The talks would not be interesting to most readers. The sleep might have been informative had I thought to pack a web-cam, but alas… The books included one murder mystery, the 2010 Best Short Fiction collection, and bits and pieces of several spiritually oriented books. The big find for me was an autobiography of Caryll Houselander called Rockinghorse Catholic–available in the monastery library.
The walks are better illustrated than told about. I was struck by the variety of textures winter offered up in the woods and fields around the monastery. Here are a few annotated photos:
I remember someone saying sometime that the path to the kingdom is narrow and tangled, not by intent, but simply because few people go there. This path is neither narrow nor tangled, but it did remind me of the quote.
Psalm 134: 6 says “God does whatever he wills…” I can’t think of any reason why he might have done this except because it pleased him. I took the photo because it pleased me too.
Jacob’s response to his dream of the stairway into heaven was “Truly the Lord is in this place…this is the gate of heaven. Maybe both the gate and the reality are more ordinary than we’ve thought about.
What can I say except, “It was there and it was beautiful.”
Jesus’ crown must have been made of something like this.
This was just one of whole flocks of robins Cynthia and I observed on our walks. They apparently decided to stay the winter this year. Even so, they bear the hope of spring.
Simply another texture that struck me as irresistible.
It’s a red-tailed hawk, I realize, but even as it took my breath away it reminded me of the lines from Isaiah, “They shall rise up with wings as eagles…”
beautiful. now you understand why i live in the high country of north carolina – scenes very similar to your pictures – a very spiritual place.
Thanks for checking in. Maybe I need another retreat and more photos. Spring has wrought a complete transformation!