My dear departed Friend John Brigham, one of my early Quaker mentors, would often begin his vocal Ministry “The weather moulds me like wax”
The weather here is glorious. It strikes me that it is no wonder so many Americans are inherently optimistic – they have so much good weather for so much of the year. We had a stretch of rain in September, and people complained as though they were entitled to fine weather. We had a very unusual snow fall, which cleared after a few days, and now snow shovels sit by each door in case paths need to be cleared. I’m not sure why, but we failed to capture this snow on camera. The week-end of the snow fall, I was doing a ‘workshop’ (course) on Compassionate Listening. At the end of one evening, we saw a stag out of the rear windows Waysmead, of one of the buildings. It moved away from the window, into the darkness. But clearly not very far. For as we left the building, with the snow falling softly onto the ground, it started up from its ruminations in alarm, and galloped right in front of us - softly, magically, across the carpet of snow. It did not gallop far, like all animals on the grounds, the seem to know they are safe, and so it slowed to a gentles trot, then a walk, and walked off into the night by Firbank, the building where we have our apartment.
We saw what we think is probably the same stag this last week-end, as we walked in bright sunshine, in temperatures of 70 plus degrees, through the woods across the road from the main house, toward a building called Brinton House. We stood there for several minutes, our group of four, and the stag, enjoying each other’s company. Then a man with two dogs on leashes appeared, and the stag took off, raising its two young ones, which had been browsing in the undergrowth behind, in the process – it was clear in retrospect he had been guarding these.
The last few days have been very busy. I undertook another workshop on the history of Quakerism with Ben Pink dandelion, Eldered by Deborah Shaw. It was simply superb. Whilst I was engaged in that, Gwyneth went down to Florida to see a long-time friend of ours from Turkey days. And then we had a visitor over the week-end – Eleanora, a young woman I’d met on a train back home. She proved interested in bi-lingualism and Quakerism, so she came over to have supper with us in Monfa, to meet a bi-lingual Quaker family. (She herself is Italian, and speaks 4 languages!!!) . It transpired she was visiting scholar from Penn State, and recognising we were coming here we kept in touch; and so she was here to visit this last week-end. The end result of all this is that we managed to tire ourselves out, and have been getting by until today, the first of our two days off.
Meanwhile, the trees here have turned a rich, deep red. We cannot bring this to you on camera, since somehow or other the camera did not make it back from Florida. Luckily, all photos are downloaded onto the computer, and stored on a Friends external hard drive as back up.
However, I can offer you pictures of trees from about a fortnight ago, and hope you enjoy them as much as we did walking around and taking the photographs.
|At the entrance of Pendle Hill|
|Gwyneth and the tree she planted in Septemebr|
|Magnificent maple - the camera does not do justice|
|Fountain at Brinton House - My favourite spot - unknown walker|