Thursday, October 28, 2010

An October Walk

A lovely Sunday afternoon spread out before me in early October. I asked myself: read a novel or do some work? On such a day as that Sunday it was a no-brainer, and I set out with my camera in hand, heading out to the old barn. Passing the community garden, I spied Sister Linda Dusek cleaning out a patch of flowers. Great!

Linda showed me the expanse of golden nasturtiums still blooming and said they were the favorite flower of Sister Colleen Haggerty’s mother Olive, who recently died at age 99. Linda picked one for me, which I stuck behind my ear and sauntered off.

Near the old barn, I head the sound of a power mower and there, coming around the corner, was Sister Margaret Wurm in her sweatshirt, cap and protective earphones, fully in charge of the big power mower. Great!

My goal now was to walk to the woods on what we at the monastery affectionately call the Vista View Road. At the beginning of this walk, someone has placed a very large stone. Over time walkers have placed small stones on top of the rock to make a cairn, as if to mark a sacred place. There are two paths, one of gravel and one of grass, set between ancient elm trees. The branches of these trees form an archway that seems to stretch endlessly, luring me to the dark mystery of the woods. Walking the road I could smell the moist earth and hear the distant sound of college students engaged in a game of softball. All sounds of I-94 were blocked out. Glorious!

On my right was a large, still-green field filled with golden sunlight. I chose to walk the road by the field on my way back, the sun overhead and a cool breeze on my face. At that moment I found that I was perfectly content and that I had everything in my life that is important. It became abundantly clear that the choice I made to choose neither the novel nor the work was truly an invitation from God.

The early monks taught that there were three books that one should read for lectio divina: the book of Scripture, the book of nature and the book of our own experience. This afternoon was a transformative moment of reading nature and breathing in the wisdom and peace that was offered. By the way, the novel was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It’s a must read!

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