I always see Labor Day as summer’s end, so this week is my time to gather up the summer memories and store them away. It has been an interesting one!
I had some great exchanges at the two conferences I gave in Houston and in Beaumont, Texas. The Word of God is so alive and well that I was renewed by the participants and their enthusiasm. My own private retreat week that followed was grace-filled and more reason for gratitude.
Then it was off to Vermont for a few delightful days with an old friend and my weekend at Camp Kiniya which always leaves me in admiration of both campers and their incredible staff of counselors on the shores of Lake Champlain. But, along with them, I lamented the low level of the lake because of the lack of snow melt from a snowless winter. Climate change at work!
This week I am stowing my suitcase and renewing my strength after two weeks of house sitting in the Catskill Mountains. Sr. Catherine and I were in charge of 3 houses that came with 3 horses, a dog and 3 very different cats, all requiring feeding and care. Our tasks were rendered more difficult by a violent storm that found us feeding the horses by the headlights on the car and then by the failure of the well pump. I know I might have survived as a pioneer woman but those gals certainly had muscle power for their chores!
You should have seen us filling the toilet tanks with buckets of water from the swimming pool. However, the horses were a greater concern since they could not drink that water. We drove to the nearest house, filled buckets there and very carefully drove back down a dirt road to the corral to fill the trough. We both thought of Mary of Nazareth carrying water to Jesus and Joseph, and of that tired woman at the well in John’s gospel. Did we exult when the pump man finally got us back in business after two days of pioneering!
A useful skill I acquired was turning out separate menus twice a day for the three horses, including the one with the pounded up pill that a horse cannot swallow whole. I had no idea they had such small throats. However, their gratitude was obvious in the way they galloped up to their feeding stations when they saw us leave the house. They knew what that meant.
I have new skills that will not be of much use in New York City where there is little call for hay tossing, but the memories of improvising and seeing to the needs of animals will stay with me for a long time. I always told my high school students that I came to class each day to see what I might learn. My summer held a diploma’s worth of very liberal arts and I cherish it. I hope yours was as rich as mine.