Thanks go to F.K., for her gift to the hermitage, against all my continuous tantrum like protestations. Very thoughtful. That brings this month up to $120.00. Thank you!
The envelope she used transports me back to younger days in Minnesota.
This is very much a Northern Minnesota scene: a very wet, soaking fog rising out of dead calm glacial lakes lined with pine curtains draping the otherwise exposed and deeply fractured lichen mottled bedrock.
We did have a canoe. And I did light campfires. And I did swim like a fish, even at night. Cold. Leaving one shivering, even in Summer. So invigorating. Warming up, standing by the fire for some moments in nothing but a pair of “cut-off” blue jeans just would not do. The mirror of the night sky that the lake became would necessarily have to be rippled with perfect skipping stones, chosen for their round, disk-like shapes, enabling the first skip to be a hundred yards out on a good throw, fifty to the next splash, then twenty five, halving the distance like this some dozens of times on a best throw, so that, way off in the distance, in the moon’s reflection, one might see the final ever so tiny wake as the stone came to a stop before sinking down to rest after its chaotic but ever so mathematically measured journey. It was fascinating to listen to the quiet clap of the stone on the water, again and again, until one only heard the spray of some drops of water, fascinating to hear this at such a distance. It was so very quiet.
Many of these lakes seemed unending, one connected to the next. Where I was, there were six lakes connected to each other, some shallow, some easily 150 feet deep, crystal clear, all the way to the bottom, as if it was only 15 feet deep.
I would look up into the skies, the Milky Way so much like splashed milk, the very visible bands of the galaxy spreading here, and over there. Stars so, so bright, far from dreary city light. And fireflies… everywhere… like sparks from an unseen fire.
I prided myself at being able to tell the time, to within one or two seconds, by looking at the stars turning like a clock overhead. One only had to know which way was North. Ah yes, there’s the Northern Star. I clearly remember one night when I decided to try this out. I guessed 2:23 A.M. and 22 seconds. And it was 2:23 A.M. and 22 seconds. Yikes!
I liked to paddle ever so quietly, only some drops dripping from the paddle ever so slightly breaking the silence. Quietly, but more quickly than the shrill warning of ever trailing mosquitoes.
Paddling into the center of the lake… What’s that?! So very beautiful! The Northern Lights. And there I would sit, taking in the magnificent show put on by our heavenly Father. God is good, thought I.
Then I would become aware of the sounds of the forest carried across the water. Frogs, by the trillions. Crickets, by the trillions. What’s that? A wolf, howling in the distance. And then, of a sudden, total silence, except for the throbbing of my heart in my ears.
But then! YIKES! Near heart attack for a few seconds! Turn up the volume first!
Ever so mysterious. I just absolutely loved it. Loved it. Loved it. It’s a sound which makes one feel ever so alone before God, the Creator of all things, ever so alone, ever so tiny, ever so insignificant, but, in that way, not alone, but rather ever so much part of all that God loves, however unworthy we are, which is only an occasion for greater thanksgiving. The more ridiculously itsy bitsy we know ourselves to be, the more hilariously wonderful is it that:
God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3,16-17 nab).
* * *
Meanwhile, back at the hermitage, I’m now ready to give the conference on Genesis and the Immaculate Conception, just finishing mostly just logistics, printing out the plane ticket and such. I must say that it’s quite a production for a hermit to get clean clothes so I don’t gross people out, smelling like a wet hermit that the dog dragged in. Blech! How bad would that be?! So, everything clean. Shoes shined instead of chicken manured boots. All that. What a fiasco. But I hope the conference will help lead people to heaven.
So, O.K. Mass said (and Jesus removed from the Tabernacle). Breviary said. Chickens and Laudie fed with enough food and water for days, though I’ll be back tomorrow already. Right now, it’s time to be on the way to the airport. Rosary in hand. Guardian angels!
P.S. Someone (R.O’C, no less) once said that my poetic style is terrible. And I don’t even know what prose is, since I hardly ever read anything. I have to wonder how bad it is to write such things as “Stars so, so bright, far from dreary city light.” I guess I just have to laugh at myself. Hah!
P.S. Did you offer this ten second novena of thanksgiving to the Immaculate Conception for seminarian Philip Gerard Johnson‘s cancer going into remission? Take out ten seconds right now and do this, as it is very much great news:
O most beautiful lady, who appeared to the humble little Bernadette in the Grotto of Lourdes, look with pitying eye upon the sick and the afflicted. Let me remember to say to you each day as do the pilgrims at Lourdes, “Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.” Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
P.S. I haven’t forgotten your emails. They’re there, in the inbox, waiting for calmer times, that is, after the conference!