Los Padres

And just to prove I’m not a total poetry grinch…

Over at Consciousness creates reality, fellow-blogger pseudonymous churns out quite a bit of it. Here’s my favorite:

Los Padres

Five thirty AM
a car drives by the camp site
full of chanting monks


This interrupted morning on the land reminds me of one of our own, on the water…

On one of our first trips into the Boundary Waters with kiddos in tow, we broke camp early one foggy, rainy Wednesday morning, and hit the water in search of the next (hopefully dry) campsite. As we launched our canoes off the portage on our second lake, morning chants started burbling up from within me. I was reciting psalms under my breath and humming familiar hymns, and very quickly I swore that the chants and songs were outside of my own head. I began (quietly) to wonder at my sanity. Around the next point, my heart settled.

Gathered around under the drooping pines, launched out on an immense outcrop of granite and greenstone, were six or seven people singing the Matins service of the Orthodox Church. Their camp was half broken and packed up for their day’s journey, packs and paddles strewn everywhere, and they were taking the time – quite the precious commodity when you’re traversing the Boundary Waters – to sing Matins in the cathedral of God’s own making. I don’t know if they had an icon hanging on that nearest pine, but windows into heaven don’t get much clearer than just opening your eyes in the Boundary Waters. Their voices, seemingly ignorant of the dip and pull of our own hurried paddles as we glided by, were intent on their Maker, unhindered by the rain, the gloom, or even their late start.

Angels singing, or in this case, a very young Sarah

A smile broke across my lips as I realized that my own spontaneous prayers were not so spontaneous at all, but inspired by the echoes of these faithful folks muffled across the dampened air.

I only wish now that I would have had the gumption then to land our canoes silently below them, climb up the rocks, and join in. It is not often you have an opportunity such as that.

Next time. Next time.


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