Chilly this morning. Foggy. The trees stand shrouded in mist. In the predawn darkness they are silent pillars, almost ghostly. I zip my jacket further up under my chin to delay the inevitable creeping chill.
I have arrived at the monestary grounds just minutes before the gate opens. I like that. I like being here at 6:02 AM, just in time to hear the signal at the gate, a soft, high-pitched sound, warning that it is about to open. There is a sharp click as the latch releases, a rattling as the long chain comes taught, tugging the wire fence aside. I enter carrying my mug of coffee and the Oregonian that I’ve grabbed from the tube next to the street. I’ll toss the paper near the back door of the monestary so the old priest–Father Gregory, I think–won’t have to drive the 100 yards to the street. I imagine he appreciates that on these cold mornings. The monestary cat avoids my approach and slips into the shadows.
Sitting on my usual bench I feel grateful for a place of quiet and solitude. Many donâ€™t have the gift of such a close retreat. I pray thanksgivingâ€¦