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Hermitage Update, March 2000

 March, delayed a day by leap year, blows ahead of itself across the empty land across the driveway spotted brown with last week’s melt. On that land waits the dream of a cloister garden surrounded by wood-walks and hermitage rooms for solitude and respite.

Outside the window, over kitchen-ell, a rusting wind-chime clangs its Penobscot bay bell tone against the large barn that waits for its conversion into what it really is – a meditation hall, library, meeting room and soul-friend room – leaving enough space for the pair of cardinals who’ve taken refuge there late winter, and the phoebes and barn swallows who’ll arrive in the coming weeks for barn-keeping bridging spring.  

Back up by the rejoining streams of the brook, under yellow birch and ever-green, the footprint and corner post of the chapel lean against the wind rooted in frost-line ice and last summer’s paper of hopeful aspirations -- this, too, waiting for the beginning of completion. Someone, we pray, will extend a benefaction. Someone, we trust, will see us through.

At the end of his poem Ash Wednesday, T.S. Eliot writes:          

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace is in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

                     And let my cry come unto Thee.

So ends February, rich in Maine snow, Ragged and Bald Mountains resplendent in white.The hermitage as it is, practices. The hermitage as it will be, waits. We close the shop a week. Esther de Waal writes in Living With Contradiction – “Only the contemplative vision growing out of times of solitude and silence makes possible a life of activity in the world.”(P.107)   

March ushers Lent. Ash Wednesday comes. As in Eliot’s poem, the lines -- “Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood” and “Suffer me not to be separated” – remind of the longing & the waiting & the asking of 40 days.

In a Thin Place Reflection (Feb2000), a surprising sentence: “Perhaps God’s name is a mirror waiting, a reflecting invitation waiting for our true reflection to be seen, and our true name to be heard, truly and compassionately.” If so, Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage longs and waits and asks. We long for the engaging emptiness of God’s name. We wait for Christing companionship enroute. We ask for the sacred spirit of open, freeing truth. 

Graciously hear us!


February 2000 Update
January 2000 Update
December 99 Update 
November Update

September Update
August Update



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Meetingbrook Hermitage
64 Barnstown Rd.,
Camden, Maine USA 04843
Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery
50 Bayview St. (Cape on the harbor)
Camden, Maine USA 04843
e-mail: mono@meetingbrook.org

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