Day 1

Random thoughts for the day, because I’ve changed time zones and I’m tired.

Left Cleveland this morning, 43 degrees and raining (for how many straight days now?). Annette & Chris took me to the airport to see me off. ‘ppreciate that.

Airports not a hassle today, though I’ve got to get me that way-cool app for my Droid phone that conjures up your boarding pass. I felt vaguely un-cool using a paper boarding pass, even though I had checked in the day before by computer and printed it out at home.

Flights to Houston and San Antonio uneventful. Got the rental car quick, too.

Hat tip to Andy Morriss, who sent me the name of his favorite place to eat goat in San Antonio: El Jarro de Arturo, a scant 3 miles from the airport. So there I sat, on a shady patio, 81 degrees outside, not a cloud in the sky, a light breeze blowing, eating the best cabrito, I ever put past my lips, homemade flour tortillas, and fresh guacamole. It was so good, I scarcely cared that I was eating it all by myself.

3 hour drive to Lebh Shomea. Gosh, I love Texas. Fields of cattle next to fields of ripening sorghum. Oil and gas wells. Scrub Oak, mesquite, and ebony trees, prickly pear cactus, and yucca in bloom. Dairy Queen advertising “Taco Special”. Good ol’ boys that nod to you or wave as they pass. Country Western music crooning about every psychopathology known to man (and woman). Helpful signs that say, “Next Service Station 60 Miles,” and mean it. Country is flat, flat, flat here, near the Gulf coast; you can see for miles.

Lebh Shomea is on the property of the Kenedy family summer house (the Kenedy’s were/are an old family of Texas ranchers who reckon up their acreage into 5 or 6 digits). I was met at the gate by Fr Francis Kelly Nemeck, whose books I have read, very old now, driving a golf cart, and given the tour of the place. Got the schedule (which is very light), and the rules (which are not). Basically, the place is for eremtical-contemplative retreats. That means, in easy words, nobody talks, except to God, and even that is done very quietly. Talking to each other is allowed during lunchtime on Sunday. I think it’s going to be a long week.

Because I’m still keyed up, this being new and all, I walked around this evening and took in the sights. I’ll put up a few of the pictures in the next post. I also have my digital voice recorder and tried recording some of the birds singing. If the recordings turn out to be okay, I’ll post those, too.

Texas evenings are beautiful. After dinner, the heat of the day breaks, and a cool breeze starts up and blows until dark. It’s a fine time to be alive. I remember, as a kid, that was the time to go swimming, or put fajitas on the grill, or (back when you could drink at 18) open a cold one, or, if it was a fine evening, do all three at once.

Dust in the air makes for gorgeous sunsets. Evening birds chirping: mourning doves, bob white quail, crows, raucous mockingbirds, birds I don’t even recollect, all singing a fine Vespers. The cool evening breeze (when the breeze blows through you, instead of on you, you’ve found peace). Deer come out. Wild turkeys, too. Something has climbed into a tree next to my cell and is seting up a racket; still not sure if it’s ‘possum or ‘coon; it’s too dark to see. Two separate packs of coyotes howling at the moon, somewhere off in the distance (they can stay there, too). I don’t know how I’ll sleep with all this “peace and quiet” going on.

There are 8 or 9 other guests here. We’ll see each other at Mass in the morning, I suppose. Since this is an eremetical-contemplative place, I suppose I ought to quit talking to y’all and go talk to God.

Peace & blessings.



Posted on May 17, 2011, in Travelogue and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I just love your descriptive passaages. Am glad you arrived safely and are in good humor and hope it lasts.
    While you are talking to God, please tell Him I love Him, and you, too! Stay cool! (By the way, it has rained every day since you left.)

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