This past weekend was a long weekend and we had planned a trip to rural Quebec to visit a Greek Orthodox monastery out there. It is a dear place to us. I grew up near that area for a couple years, so my sisters and I spent a lot of time there as children. Needless to say, seeing my own children playing there now is a very beautiful and profound thing.
The huge property is nestled in the woods in a rather remote location. In the spring and summer and fall, it is stunning and colourful and in full flower. But in the winter time, it is quieter, practically still, with the snow covering the earth in a white blanket and muffling all sound. With so little movement from nature, it is a place for solitude, for prayer, for contemplation.
Of course, I forgot the camera so no hard evidence. (That always bums me out!) And of course the kids had an unforgettable time! Another bummer not to have pictures to remember them by! There was lots of time spent with dogs and cats, a few pony rides, a visit to the cows and chickens, lots of wonderful indoor conversations around the wood burning fires, hot chocolate with the sisters, visits to the their workshops, a promise of carving lessons in the future for a certain little man, and two little girls crawling all over the kitchen playing doggie. All of this surrounded by such love and warmth and care from the sisters. They really are our sisters. And mothers. The kids soaked up their attention and love. They did not want to leave. (I won't lie, the animals were a huge attraction too...) They don't usually like leaving those sacred places. Truly Panagia's garden.
We came home today, but we are not here just yet. Our hearts have to have some time to come back with us. A nice fish dinner helped. But we are tired from the trip and tired from not enough sleep. I bid you goodnight and wish you much rest.