It was Sunday yesterday. I’m sure of it. I’m sure because my husband told me it was, and he never misses on things like that. But I wasn’t so sure of that when the day started.
I got ready for church yesterday morning, as I do most Sundays, looking forward to being uplifted and feeling a stronger connection to God. When we arrived at 10 AM for the 10:15 Holy Eucharist service, there were only a few people at the church. Now, we have a small congregation to be sure – but not that small. Did I have the right day? By the start of the service, we had a few more. Enough that, when added to our 6 choir members, it didn’t feel too bad. The odd thing was that several of those attending were not regulars and, while it’s a good thing for us to have new faces, it’s not good if they outnumber the “regulars.”
The service was a little . . . well, how do I say this . . . hmmm . . . let’s just say some of the participants were “rookies” and not completely trained in their parts yet. Partly my fault, I must confess, since I have the responsibility for scheduling (and training?) lay readers and chalice bearers. The reader this week read one lesson that was not supposed to be read. She’s very quiet and needs to learn to project a bit, too. Of course, having the “wrong” lesson read didn’t help the priest preach, since he preaches by explaining each lesson and connecting them. Funny, though, it was one of his better sermons. The organist, who is also a local funeral director, got a cell phone call during the service. The chalice bearer for this week also sings in the choir and is a “rookie” at the altar. There were a few awkward moments.
After the service, we went into the parish hall for “Coffee Hour” – a time for refreshment and fellowship. Oops, no coffee . . . no anything!!! I guess whoever was on the team for this week was one of those faces missing from the service. I know this is a holiday weekend, but it felt like I was vacationing in the “twilight zone.”
My husband and I set off from the “No Coffee Hour” and headed to the market to shop for the next couple of weeks. Gratefully, everything went well there and we got home with everything we needed. This will be the last time I shop for groceries until the end of May, so I tried to be thorough. May will be the month we “go missing.” The first weekend is my stepson’s college graduation. When we get home on Sunday, May 4, I have exactly 4 days to do laundry, visit the dentist, make sure my son (who has Asperger’s Syndrome) is clear on what he needs to do for the next 3 weeks and repack. Friday, May 9 we leave for a 17 day driving trip from Massachusetts to Nashville and back with my in-laws. (I’ll try to keep a good travel log.)
After putting the groceries away, my husband suggested we go somewhere and do some walking, since it was such a beautiful afternoon. I think he had my weight loss work as an ulterior motive. I really didn’t feel like it but knew I should, so I agreed.
We went to a state park in the Blackstone Valley. They’ve developed a walking path along the old tow path that paralleled the canal. It’s scenic and there are other trails as well, but the best thing about this dirt path is that it is basically flat. I’m not up to hills and valleys yet.
We set off in the direction most people don’t choose. It’s more peaceful that way. The canal is home to fish of assorted sizes and many, many turtles. Since it was such a beautiful, sunny day, many of the turtles were taking the opportunity to bask in the sun along the canal’s edge. When we reached the end of the short path we were on, we reversed direction. We came back to our starting point, then continued on in the direction we had skipped in the beginning.
After half an hour of walking, I need a rest. We stopped at a place where a stone bench was set alongside the canal and sat down for a few minutes. We decided to return to the car. As we walked back along the canal, I noticed a bit of movement in the water. I thought perhaps we had more turtles and stopped to take a look. Of course, I looked at the water at first. And I didn’t see anything. Then I happened to look at the grass growing along the back. And there, to my immense pleasure and surprise, was a small beaver!! We froze and barely drew breath and we watched him slowly forage along the bank of the canal. When he noticed us, he slid into the water and disappeared into the canal banking. Neat trick – wish I could do that sometimes. We hadn’t seen any beaver lodges, so this must be a beaver who builds in river banks and such. Suddenly, I noticed his nose poke out again – about 2 feet away from where he had originally “disappeared.” Ahh, the other entrance! He sat there for a bit with just his face showing, then slid back into the canal and swam away.
What a wonderful encounter that had been! We’re big “fans” of beavers, so this was a real treat!! We continued on our way back to the parking lot. As we approached the bridge to the parking area, I noticed a large bird soaring in the sky above the canal. We stopped to watch it. It was huge, with an enormous wing span and the appearance of a bird of prey. Since we were now facing the sun, I was having a little trouble really getting a good look at the bird. Maybe my sunglasses need new lenses with an updated prescription. My husband got a good look, but wasn’t sure: bigger than a hawk, darker colored than a sea gull – I wondered if it was bigger than a bread box and got a smile out of my husband. We watched until the bird soared from sight. I felt my heart and soul soaring, too.
After a short drive home, I got out our bird book and gave it to my husband. The bird had been an osprey! What a wonderful walk it had been! God had made up for the lack of spirit found at church that morning by providing His own gifts to make a spiritual and joyous afternoon.
We each made ourselves something to eat. The tomato soup I had with 3 oz of tuna (on the side, not in the soup) tasted sooo good. I’ve lost about 10 pounds in the past 2 weeks. It is getting more difficult to pretend I had the surgery. But I’m working on it.
We topped our evening off with our Sunday night date. For the past month or so, we’ve had a date “scheduled” for 9 PM Sunday night. That’s when the HBO mini-series “John Adams” airs here. It is an excellent production and last night was the final episode. I hope someone comes up with something else good to watch in that time period now that “John Adams” has finished. I kind of like having a time to cuddle up next to my husband on the couch and shut out the rest of the world.