Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pig slop, monster cookies and Latin chants

Today was beautiful. To say anything else would just detract from its beauty. I laugh because I groan every morning at 5:40, even after 7 wonderful hours of sleep, when I bundle up and pretend I don’t need to be at lauds at 6. I don’t need to be at lauds at 6. But I want to. My fuzzy eyes and fuzzy blankets just distract me a little.

I’m getting the hang of the chants. In fact, I can satisfactorily participate in a little more than half of all the 45 minute services. At first the Latin was too foreign, the pace too fast, the pages all over. I’ve been reading for so long that my eyes look at the first and last part of the words and expect to know what’s in between—especially since it looks some much like English and sounds so much like Spanish and Italian. I’m still working on it.

After mass I made eggs with tomato and cheese and finished the refried beans with cheese from the youth group. Also had coffee. Instead of helping Mother D this morning, Mother H said I would be working with her. Next thing I knew I was wearing four layers and standing in a massive freezer moving berries around and organizing boxes and food while Mother H barked out new tasks. I made pig slop, basically a ton of leftover food mixed together and frozen, for pigs that won’t even be on the property for several months.  Afterwards I bagged and labeled fresh blueberries before cutting fresh broccoli and putting it into huge bowls. Freedom came around noon, when I decided to go to the infamous island library instead of straight to lunch. I had one hour before it closed and it is only open 3 days a week. I needed a movie.

I walked up the winding path for twenty five minutes, up rolling gravel slopes and death hill. The library was excellent because it was everything I expected it to be. Small, wooden, old, quaint. Books and a ton of DVDs…the collection was impeccable…Much better than a redbox. I quickly grabbed a bunch I had heard of but never seen:  The Secret Life of Bees, The Queen, Paris J’taime, The Descendants. I saw the first and third today, the first being absolutely incredible. After my little adventure, I ate half my chicken, broccoli and potato plate followed by a snickerdoodle and a monster cookie.

A monster cookie is a big cookie with just about everything good in it: oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips and m&ms. MH says they’re called Monster cookies because of their size. I didn’t complain.

Add strong black coffee and never get up from your rocking chair again because life is bliss. But I did, because broccoli cutting called. And when I was finished, Mother F walked into the kitchen and so I offered to help her with whatever she needed. And that was the gateway to an even more magical experience thank cookies and coffee. I know, what?

It happened in the herb garden. I was given huge cutting pliers and told to clear out a section of overgrown plants next to a large aluminum compost bin once used for water. Wished I could make cool animal shrubs like the guy in Pocahontas. Could not. Had a bit too much fun destroying the plants regardless. The bees were unhappy. Mother F came back just as I was finishing and starting telling me about the different plants and flowers. Tried a cousin of licorice, spearmint and peppermint. Saw hollyhocks. And then Mother Felicitas asked me the most wonderful question I had heard in a very long time: Would you like to learn a chant in Latin?

Would I like to learn a chant in Latin? Would I? I could have kissed her feet. And so, after I pulled two dark green plastic chairs to a shaded corner in the herb garden, Mother Felicitas and I sat down together amidst the flowers overlooking the pasture while she taught me what’s called a round. I would almost start laughing in the middle because I kept picturing the scene and was just that joyous about it.  If that had been the only good thing I experienced throughout my visit, that would have still made the entire month worthwhile. It was perfect.