Day two began on a lovely note with a little fuel for the journey.
Christina lured herself awake with a little swing on the porch.
And once we’d packed our lunch, we were off for a Eucharistic service at a Trappist monastery.
I wish I could say I’ve read “The Seven Storey Mountain,” Thomas Merton’s well-known memoir, but I cannot, and because I cannot, I missed some of the significance of Day 2 of our journey South.
It reminds me a little of the time I was in Rome, back in college, before I appreciated the depth of just what Rome means to my faith story. It’s on my bucket list to return, now that I would cherish each step.
Perhaps I will return someday to this beautiful part of the country too and have a greater appreciation for Merton. For now, however, I can say that Day 2 was beautiful, and that, like that naive college student, I took it in nonetheless with a sense of awe and a peacefulness in my heart.
It didn’t hurt that we started our day winding through the Kentucky hillside, finally landing at Merton’s old haunts, which are still very much alive today.
Alive with the prayer of the monks.
Alive with their voices (listen here), pleading to a good God we can’t fully understand.
Alive with memory.
Alive with beauty.
In some ways it didn’t matter that I didn’t know all there is to know about this sacred place.
I still let it all wash over me, let it heal my soul, let it slow my breathing.
After Mass and a chance to inhale this lovely, peaceful place, our “tour guide,” Southern Belle Beth, our fellow pilgrim and chef, brought us to another little spot of heaven — a place where she’s gone for solace as a Catholic writer before; to the mother house of the Sisters of Loretto.
She showed us many spots in which we might set down our picnic, but we chose this one, near a pond called Mary’s Pond, which runs parallel to a little road that had just been blanketed with fresh cedar chips.
|Photo credit: Karen Mahoney|
Karen, however, was able to capture the dragonflies.
We strolled through the grounds a bit…
Taking in the rocky grotto…
And a piece of art Beth said is one of her favorites, “The Magnificat,” which reminded me of my friend Katie back home…
The outdoor Stations of the Cross…
And many other lovely things.
And then, Beth announced it was time to depart. We needed to get on back to Cinnamon House so she could get home and catch an evening flight to D.C.
Now, we were on our own — three northerners in the South.
We took it easy the rest of the day, blending into our environment, letting our souls sit a while.
We caught up on some reading and writing and pondering what tomorrow will bring.
We talked about the joys of faith and some of the experiences that have led to where we are now.
And how much we appreciate today.
God is good and we all see this as an incredible gift that we are soaking in like thirsty sponges.
Tomorrow, we shall ride to Georgia!