Note 2: Again, for the purpose of maintaining privacy (from Google) I've changed some of the names. Even though, really now, it's pretty obvious who these people are.
Days 3–7: The Last Homely House
“…a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.” –Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
The next morning, we awoke, had breakfast, and engaged in a long and fascinating discussion with Fr. Alexander, which included references to Kurt Gödel, St. Gregory Palamas, and apophatic theology. This conversation induced my brain to engage in morning calisthenics. As the sun passed its high point, we began to begin the process of departing, though this time we did not follow the Russian tradition of sitting on our bags. Fr. Alex led us with his car to the Field where the Shot Heard Round the World was fired, though nowadays it looks quite tranquil.
He then followed us to the Interstate, where we parted ways. Now was the last leg of our journey North. Several hours later, we encountered a sign saying: “Welcome to Maine: The Way Life Should Be.” Coming from the Aloha State, I was quite skeptical. However, it did not take too long to convince me!
About an hour later we arrived at the Woodlawn homestead. The warmly-lit house, which looked as if blanketed in mist, prompted me to utter: “I feel like I've arrived at Rivendell!”
We entered to a fine welcome, and thus began the first of many moments we shared at that house. There are too many of them to describe them all, but they include:
- Feeding chickens (and picking one up!)
- Going on walks and watching for wild turkeys and pheasants
- Seeing a bald eagle for the first time
- Watching “Gilligan's Island” with the family
- Of course, Thanksgiving!
- Celebrating my namesday (St. John Chrysostom) with my dear friends
- Attending and singing vigil and liturgy at the parish
Right now, I'm fighting the urge to turn this post into a novel, so I will stop here. This trip may seem somewhat tangential to seminary life, but it just goes to show that as a seminarian, you have the opportunity to meet and befriend many interesting and wonderful people. I am very thankful to the three families with whom I had the pleasure of spending my Thanksgiving vacation, and I look forward to the time when I can meet them again.