Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back east, back to summer, back home.


photo from "The View from Squirrel Ridge" blogspot


Next week, I will travel for our annual family gathering to the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, to the idyllic town of Orkney Springs where The Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration and a Conference Center of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is located. A mouthful. Most people simple call it "Shrine Mont." Though when I say it, it's spelled "Shrinemont."

Do you know that feeling you get when you say the name of a place and you are there? Folded into the letters and the way the mouth moves to make the sounds and the word caressing the ear you find the angels of time and memory? That's how it is when I say "Shrinemont." When I hear it. When I think it. I travel back through years, through age and distance from this cold wet green island, back to childhood, back east, back to summer, back home.

I feel moist Virginia air surrounding, inundating, immersing me down, down, down until I feel the rough dusty stones beneath my fingertips, the back of my neck and underarms wet with perspiration. I watch the fireflies' tiny miracle insect lights dance at dusk. Bare feet callused from summer walking on hot pavement, gravel driveways, wood splintered trails through backyard pockets of forest in a sea of suburbia, the soles of my feet black with tar and dirt. My heart catches when my mind's ear tunes to the awkward guitar strums of a 16 year old me, playing folk songs like the hippie child I wanted so badly to be ~ Blowin' in the Wind, House of the Rising Sun. I am taken back. Come with me . . .

Drive on Route 263 from Mt. Jackson all the way to the very end, through the tiny town of Orkney Springs, its old white farmhouses huddled at the foot of North Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley, and bump up against Cross Mountain and you arrive. . . 


by Idawriter-Panoramio.com
. . . to a cross and altar of rough stone where you sit on wooden benches under dogwood and amidst mountain laurel for meditation and communal worship. I have wandered away from my childhood Episcopalian and Christian roots, but I have stayed closely connected with the rooted tendrils of soul, spirit, and Mystery Words. . . 

. . . to rocking chairs on screened front porches, where we meander through story, a good novel, a glass of wine, silence, and back again . . .

photo-The Shiftless Wanderer

. . . to the religious, in the very best sense of the word~to bind, to connect, to consider with great intention and care, free of dogma, full of joy, dancing, rousing choruses of unseen campers hiking up back trails, clapping, spirited discussions, quiet walking prayers in the Labyrinth, modeled after the labyrinth at Chartres, the Isle of Iona Entry Stone resonating with its Celtic roots . . . 


photo - www.shrinemont.com
. . . to the place every child should have, a wide open place to come to, a touchstone through the wilds of growing up, a place to come for solace from the pain of a childhood wrought with the standard dramas of divorces, stepmothers, and general weirdness of coming of age. . . 


photo-The Shiftless Wanderer
. . . yes, you arrive. Finally.

No comments:

Post a Comment