Delights: November 5 to November 11

November 5: The mountains welcomed us. The trees tossed orange and red confetti at our feet. Quaint cottages offered hearth and rocker. My church had arrived at venerable Shrine Mont for our weekend retreat. Someone sighed, “It feels like the whole world has left us.” Exactly.

November 6: I leaned forward at such an angle that an observer would have imagined a defiant headwind. Except all possible observers from the retreat leaned the same way, hiking with me up the mountain along Cross Trail. At last we reached our destination: an observation platform and four flights of wooden steps without risers or sides. And I’m terrified of heights. But I’d come so far. Up, up I went, clutching the handrails and denying the ground below. I reached the top (which wasn’t really that high) and snatched my views. Then, backing away from the railing, I hugged the white column rising through the platform’s center. It soothed me and fortified me for the descent. When I touched down, I looked back up at the platform. Then I understood the name of the trail; the column that settled me was the upright of a cross.

November 7: Mountain frost visited us on Sunday morning, but wind and clouds stayed in bed. So when we assembled in the outdoor Shrine for worship, sunshine lifted our voices and warmed our bodies. How, the pastor asked, had we found Life in Abundance this weekend? She urged us to roll our words into paper scrolls and slide them into a community mosaic. I dithered. Then I knew. For the first time in 20 months, our congregation sat here together, shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart. My word was “Joy.”

The Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration, Episcopal Church, Diocese of Virginia. Not the biggest cathedral, but the one with the highest ceiling.

November 8: Back home, in a shaded bit of garden with a rock-lined path, a mom, grandmother and a new-walking boy wandered among the ferns. They moved slowly, not only because of the toddler’s pace, but also because they were exploring. As I walked by, the mom nudged a resting log with her foot. The little boy squatted and looked. “Yes, there!” His mom called. “Do you see the worm?” 

November 9: Thirty years ago today, in a sunset-shimmering church, Kevin and I stood among family and friends to commit to each other our lives and our love. Sure, things can get scratchy at times. And one of us snores. (That would be me.) As I think about those thirty years, I wonder: Am I a better person because Kevin is in my life? I am. Do I savor the thought of thirty more years? I do, I do.

Today is Kevin’s and my wedding anniversary. Still lovin’ you!

Bonus: In Happy Feet, from two years ago, I recount how Kevin and I met. In Opportunity Costs, I talk about (eventually) saying “yes” to the rest of my life.

November 10: Trees lining the beach road sparkled like sprinkles on Halloween cookies. The forest floor glowed tangerine and even the bay was Caribbean blue. The white ribbon of sand trimmed the ocean in neon. Everything was erupting in color. . . . I think I’ll wear my funky spare sunglasses on the trip back from the beach too.

November 11: I spied a lone fisherman in his boat below the bridge where I walked. His fishing line stiffened and bowed with promise. I paused. Sure enough, he reeled in a silver fish as long as his forearm. After securing his rod and removing the hook, the fisherman took a selfie: fish and fisherman, cheek to cheek. Then, seconds before freeing the fish to swim again, he applied to its nose a grateful kiss.

I took this photo before I knew how the fairy tale would end.

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If you’d like to browse my past essays, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to my four published essays. I’m glad you’re here!

Happy Veterans Day. And thank you to all who served. Thanks also to their families, who sacrifice as well. This is my Dad in uniform for the U.S. Navy during World War II, as Chief Petty Office and shipboard journalist.

15 thoughts on “Delights: November 5 to November 11

  1. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! Lovely pictures from the retreat.

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    1. The mountains were indeed lovely. And thank you for your kind wishes!

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  2. Happy, happy anniversary! What a beautiful place for a retreat. And good for you for overcoming your fear of heights.

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    1. Thank you, Laurie, for your cheery words — and encouragement to go a little higher than I wanted to go!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations, Carol Ann & Kevin! Love your wedding photo – such a wonderful pose and intimate moment shared! and also your reaffirmation for another 30 years ahead! Hear hear!

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  4. What beautiful pictures of colourful leaves, an account of pushing through your fear of heights – and a wedding anniversary. Congratulations to you both.

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    1. I very much appreciate your note, Anne. Thank you for sharing our special day!

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  5. I love the joy in your post. Wishing you many more happy years.

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    1. Thank you, my friend. That is so kind of you to say. The fellow with the fish gave me particular pleasure!

      Liked by 1 person

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