Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clarity in the Sewanee Fog

Abbo's Alley in the fog
Last week, David and I drove down to Sewanee, Tennessee for his 50th Reunion at the University of the South.  Leaving Lexington, we could see a bank of clouds; a forecasted front pushing southeast.  Midway along the Bluegrass Parkway, the rain began and accompanied us all the way to Sewanee.  One of our first stops upon arriving at Sewanee was the wonderful bookstore on campus.  David and I always find terrific books at this relatively small establishment.  This time, since Barbara Brown Taylor had recently been on campus (I knew this thanks to Mo. Chris) there was a nice selection of her books and I purchased Leaving Church.  David and I took our leave from the store and noticed that the famous Sewanee fog had rolled in while we were browsing the volumes.  Looking across the campus, it was at once soft and bright, as the leaves were close to their peak in color. The foggy backdrop had a luminescent quality that did not dampen the leaf colors, but turned them into rich accents.

The next morning, alumni were welcomed to attend classes. David and I went to a second semester French class, which turned out to be an excellent review of en and y, along with the subjunctive (which I can always stand to review.)  Next, David went to a topology class and I hit the trail, walking around campus and heading to Abbo's Alley, an enchanting place, especially in the fog.  Line and color became elegantly enigmatic. So many places called out to me: Paint Me! Paint Me!

        Our schedule each day was full with reunion activities, but at the end of the day, I would enjoy relaxing with my new book. In Leaving Church, Barbara Brown Taylor paints a picture of how she came to faith and it is first and foremost grounded in the wonderful creation that we all dwell upon.  And she notes that in Celtic theology, "God's 'big book' of creation is revered alongside God's 'little book' of sacred scripture." (pg 81)  Taylor and her husband come upon a "thin place" when walking over the land that would become their home.  The idea of thin places is also Celtic. These are special places that are also part of another realm.

        On Saturday, the sun returned, just in time for the homecoming football game.  The colors were intense and brilliant; a bright blue sky beyond the vibrant orange leaves.  I walked past the same scenes and the same gracefully curved trees. A certain mystique had disappeared.  This set me to thinking: can you ever really see the same scene twice?  Are there really thin places or is every place thin and it just takes a readiness to see that makes the difference?

1 comment:

  1. Just now reading this blog post. Leaving church is one of our all time favorite books. She is an amazing writer and preacher.

    Kevin S-J.