Anyone who has been reading my blog for more than a year is probably starting to get this sense of dejavu. Because yes, I do the same things in the same way in the same places every year. And anyone who read my blog last March knows that one of my yearly March rituals is a trip to the monastery.
It’s a Benedictine monastery, a cluster of buildings that includes an old stone farmhouse where we will gather with other guests for meals, an octagonal chapel where the monks meet for prayer seven times each day, a big barn full of hay and sheep, and several separate little guest cottages, including the one where Monking Friend and I will stay. The monastery is high in the hills, with a splendid view of sheep pastures and woods.
It is still winter in this part of the country, and the sheep pastures will be drifted in white. I’ll build a fire in the guest cottage, and pull the comfy chair up to the big window that faces south, and take a nap in the sun. The most wonderful part of being at the monastery is the relaxation of doing nothing in particular. I might go for a hike with Brother Beekeeper, or wander through the sheep barns, or take a walk with Monking Friend. I might take some pictures with my digital camera. I might write in my journal or read a book. I might visit the bookstore that smells of beeswax candles. I might walk into the chapel, breathing in the musty smell of incense, and climb down the long stone staircase to the crypt, a room lit by the glow of hundreds of votive candles. I will have five days to myself, to do whatever I feel like doing at that particular moment. I can pray or read or meditate. I can sit in the comfy chair for hours and watch snow fall.
I will think of you, my blogging friends, during these quiet hours of peace.