Saturday morning at the monastery was cold but sunny. I wore my winter coat when I went for a morning walk. Frozen blades of grass crunched under my feet as I walked along the fence towards the sheep barn. The sun began melting the frost on the pastures, but icy spots still remained in the shadow of the barn and in round spots under the crooked trees in the apple orchard.
After wandering through the barnyard and taking photos of sheep, I went into the chapel to get warm. As I walked down the stone steps into the crypt, I heard voices. A class of school kids were gathered in the little back room. Brother Tractor was telling them stories about the early days of the monastery. He came in 1961, the year I was born.
“We wore robes all the time in those days, but we kept ripping them when we were doing farm work. Mine would get caught in the tractor. So we had a meeting and they voted that you could wear pants when you were doing farm work or using a ladder,” he said. He added, “One of the brothers said that I was always carrying a ladder around just so I could wear pants.” The kids laughed.
"Why do you sing and chant?" asked a girl. Brother Tractor said, “Do you like it? The music adds something to prayer that words cannot.”
Once I was warm, I went back outside to wander over to the sheep pasture and walk up the road in the sun. The wind that rose was cold, and it wasn’t long before I was ready to go back to the guest cottage where I’d sit in the sunny window with a cup of hot tea and a book.