No, you’re not seeing spots before your eyes. WordPress announced that it had added a new wrinkle to Appearances — you can make it snow on your blog, if you seriously want snow. After the last two years of getting dumped on in October, and spending the next six months combatting Flaky White Stuff, you’d think I’d have acquired some sense, but I think my “Winterometer” got readjusted — here it is December 4, and outside of a few fat flakes that fell in Maine on October 18 (or thereabouts), we haven’t seen a flake or a flurry. So I’ve added some to my site.
As to what possessed us to leave our cozy little place for the wilds of Maine — I see that I haven’t written a word about it, so here goes. From 2004 to 2007, my husband and I attended church at a parish about 40 miles away from us, in Maine. Greek Orthodox, which I wasn’t too crazy about, but this priest had married my daughter and her husband and we knew him to be a very conservative priest who fully understands spiritual warfare and how to go about it. He is a great confessor. So we started going there.
I think it was during Great Lent of 2007 that he had a priestmonk come and visit from Colorado, a Father Christodoulos, a wonderfully warm and funny man who also has a firm grasp on the spiritual life and how to live it. I enjoyed that mini-retreat enormously, so when we got notification that Fr. Christodoulos was returning to Maine, I asked my husband if we could go to visit. The plan was to have dinner out, attend Vespers, and go to confession with Fr. “Chris” (for the sake of getting done with this post sometime today, I’ve shortened his name).
It didn’t work out quite that way; we had dinner out, got to Vespers, joined people for their meal (I hadn’t known the parish was providing a meal), and then Fr. Chris gave a talk, which I also hadn’t known he was going to do. By the time he got around to confessions, it was 9:00 pm, and we still had an hour’s drive back home, in the dark and cold — and there was already a long line to talk to this priest. So we just shrugged, said, “Nice try,” and headed home.
The next day was cloudy and cold. We went to Liturgy at our local parish, and around 3:00 I was sitting around at home waiting for it to be time to start supper when the hubster comes up and says, “What’s the schedule for today at St. Demetrios?”
“They’re having a meal at around 5:00, and then Fr. Chris is hearing confessions again.”
“Would you like to go?”
Is breathing in and out a good idea? But instead I said, “I can’t ask that of you. We already made that drive last night, and it’s going to be another cold, dark drive. And I have chicken for supper.”
“Are they having supper there?”
“I think it would be good for you to go. It would be spiritually healthy. C’mon, get your coat.”
And off we went to Saco again. We enjoyed the meal greatly (for one thing, there was a lot more food, since people weren’t fasting for Communion), Fr. Chris gave another talk, and then he and the priest of the parish decided to hold “Apodypnou” — Compline, to us non-Greek-speakers — which the priest of the parish would conduct while Fr. Chris heard confessions. There was another ugly rush to the church, and I said something to the parish priest’s wife about not having been able to talk to him the previous evening — and bless her, she asked everybody to let us go first, since we did have a long drive ahead of us.
When I was done, Fr. Chris said, “What about Jim?” He was so surprised to learn that the hubster isn’t Orthodox, but said, “Well, tell him to come over here and I’ll bless him anyway.” Jim was floored. I guess he isn’t used to positive attention from priests (maybe that’s where Catholics used to get the idea that they should stay under God’s radar scope??). So Fr. Chris blessed him, and we left the church — would have loved to stay for Compline, but it was inching towards 8:00 pm, and we still had that hour-long drive ahead of us —
And that was when we discovered that we would be driving through snow. Always dicey, but the first snowfall of the season, people still aren’t used to driving in snow, and they take crazy chances. But Fr. Chris’s blessings saw us through the storm, which mostly covered the fields — the road was still too warm to retain a coating of snow — and we got home in one piece.
And that was the last we saw of snow, from that day to this. Now — I hope I haven’t just jinxed the weather, so that we get dumped on every single day between now and Pascha.
Read Full Post »