Tag: nature

Sketch 16

Ahh…a little late with the weekly post yet again.

Last weekend, I went on the spring retreat with the Faith Activism Collective.  It was really nice getting out of the city and going to this rustic camp setting.  The retreat involved an approx. 4.5 mile hike into Sturtevant Camp in the Big Santa Anita Canyon.  Sturtevant camp is a hold over from the glory days of the hiking resorts in the San Gabriel Mountains (which were popular in the 1900’s to about the first world war).  So basically most modern technology was left behind (though the camp did have such amenities as electricity and heated cabins).  There were just under 20 of us there for the weekend.  It was a great time for me to relax, and be in a place where I didn’t feel so weird about my doubts about the church.  Each night ended with some acoustic karaoke/sing alongs.  Popular where 80s hits like Hungry Like a Wolf, Here I Go Again, Livin On a Prayer, Like A Prayer…and a rendition of Young MC’s Bust a Move with yours truly rapping.  Oh dear.

It seems I’ve got a part-time gig as a barista to fall back upon when my job is essentially over next week.  I’ll need something else to survive financially…but its a start right?

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The World is so cool!

I had a great weekend away from the city in nature. More about that tomorrow.

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a weekend in silence…

…or close to it.

Friday morning, October 20th, my friend and I left the apartment building at 5:15 am.  She had graciously agreed to drive me out to Lafayette for my weekend retreat.  The goal was to get there before the beginning of the Lauds at 6:30am.

I was to spending the weekend at Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey.  I had set up the retreat initially to talk to one of the brothers about participating in the Monastic Life Retreat the abbey offers.  However, by the time the weekend rolled around, I knew that this would not be the focus of my weekend after all.

At home I left most of the trappings of my day to day life.  I brought with me only a change of clothes, some books for reading and reflection and my moleskine notebook in which to write (I even left my watch at home).

The abbey itself is located on approximately 1400 acres of land on the west side of the Dundee hills.  This is an area now famous for its numerous world famous vineyards (in fact Sokel Blosser’s vineyards border the east side of the abbey’s land).  The abbey’s land is however largely forested with the exception of some farm land at the base of the hill.  The monks use this land to grow vegetables they use for food.

Back to my story…

After Laud’s (which is actually the second service of the monastic hours), I had to wait until my room was available.  During this time I sat out on the deck of the reception area and read a bit from the collection of poetry by Rumi I had brought with me. Shortly before noon, I was told my room was ready.  The room I would be staying in over the weekend was simple.  A twin bed, a desk and a rocking chair.  Perfect simplicity.

12:30 brought the Sext service.  After which came a silent dinner with other retreatants.  We would be eating a vegetarian diet for the weekend (as the monks themselves do).  After supper I decided to head off to the trails above the abbey’s buildings.  Near the top of the hill there is a shrine to the Lady Guadalupe that made a good goal.   While there were defined trails, they were still not the heavily used trails I was used to.  At times the trail even had a blanket of growth covering it completely.



One of the best things about this short hike, was that I didn’t run into anyone else on the hike.  It was just me and the trees.

More to come later…

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