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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cincinnatus at the plow


This is a cemetery. In Nanticoke. Can you believe it?
Honestly, I cannot wait for this election to be over. I am at the point of allowing myself a small glimmer of hope that the outcome will be one that I see as being the best for America, and for the world at large. But not everyone shares this point of view, and I find myself being drawn into conflict. I don't like conflict. I prefer to lay out my arguments in a logical, coherent manner, and have people apply their reasoning skills and experience-based insights to conclude that what I am saying is correct. But not everyone follows this program, and I need to shift up to a higher level of disputation. After a while, this gets exhausting.

Something was bound to give. I decided this week that I would be one of King Harry's "warriors for the working day," and give myself the weekends off to blog about the things I damn well wanted to.

Well, I started off with a long weekend: On Thursday I unleashed the first official post of The Stained Glass Project, an effort to photographically document the stained glass windows in my parish church, which may or may not be slated for closing in the near future.

On Friday I recounted a Cemetery Walk from the Sunday before.

Saturday I was supposed to head off to Confirmation practice with my nephew, who I am sponsoring; when this was cancelled five minutes before I was going to walk out the door, I found myself literally all dressed up with no place to go. So I decided to take the opportunity to begin another project of mine: photographically documenting all of the Churches of Nanticoke. I headed out at 9:00 to take advantage of the morning sunlight, and hadn't wrapped things up until nearly noon. (Even then I discovered that I had overlooked one of the churches, and went back out to take its picture, as well as to retake any pictures that hadn't turned out as well as I had hoped.

I tried to get more stained glass photos after Mass yesterday afternoon, but the sun set before the Mass ended and I wound up with interesting, even disturbing, images of the windows by reflected light. Before Mass the priest played a recorded message from Bishop Martino on the subject of church closings, advising parishioners throughout the Diocese of Scranton that in most cases no decisions have been made yet, but everyone must realize that we are no longer living in the 19th or 20th centuries when many of these parishes were founded, but must deal with the realities of the 21st-century world. (Interesting advice from someone who is generally regarded as having an attitude more in keeping with the 15th or 16th centuries.)

After this recording played, the priest announced that the Bishop had asked all parishes to set aside October 19th as a special "Day of Prayer" for the future of the Diocese. So the priest announced that, in compliance with this request, the church would be left open all day Sunday so that parishioners could come and pray at a time convenient to them. A plan started to take shape in my mind.

Like all of my plans, it was highly modular. The modules included another cemetery walk, and a Fall Foliage photo tour, and another session for The Stained Glass Project. Possibly all undertaken on foot, or possibly involving a car. Last week's cemetery walk involved my car, and it was a bit of a pain having to backtrack to where I had originally parked rather than continuing on foot across town to my house. After I took a shower this morning the plan was that I would drive across town to the church, grab my photos before the 11:30 Mass, and then make my way back by car stopping at several cemetery and landscape destinations along the way. But things came up that delayed me to the point that I would only have a few minutes to take photos before the start of Mass, which meant potentially disturbing other parishioners. So the plan was revised: I would head out on foot, meander though the cemeteries, and arrive at the church after Mass had let out around 12:30.


Large panorama of one of the Nanticoke cemeteries, taken 10/19/08.
Combination of three separate photos.
The cemetery walk was a downright Rockwellian experience. As I slowly made my way through multiple cemeteries, watching the Moon gradually set in the Northwest behind an Autumn landscape, the sounds of the announcer for the Nanticoke Junior Varsity football game being played more than half a mile away rang clearly across the graves. Church bells rang for noon, then for twelve-thirty, and I knew that Mass was now over and I would be able to finish my walk across town, enter the church and -


- well, as it turned out, I had the whole place to myself. Which was good, in a way, as far as getting photographs went. Though it saddened me somewhat that I was the only one there, at least for the entire period I spent inside - maybe fifteen minutes to a half hour. Still, I may now have everything I need to finish off the photographic portion of this project.

Tomorrow is Monday, and time to shift gears once again back to politics, to make what meager contribution I can to the cause. Not for much longer, just two more weeks or so. Then the election will be over. And then, like Cincinnatus, we will all be able to get back to our plowing.

1 comment:

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Love the photos...

Colin Powell will be another huge boost...

We're on our way forward to Happy Days!