Day 63, on to St John’s, Manton
Photos by Fr Michael Butler, Jul 18, 2011
[19 July 2011] Today was simply a day of travel. I left home at 7:30 am and discovered just how bad Cleveland Hopkins Airport could be. Security took me over an hour to get through. Barely made it to the gate before we started boarding the flight. There was a couple of hours layover in Denver, which was not bad, both because it gave me time to get some lunch, and there are good restaurants at the Denver airport, and also because it’s a pleasant airport to sit in, if you have to sit in an airport.
The flight to Sacramento wasn’t too long. We flew over mountains still covered with snow, which surprised me, but there they were. Got my mid-sized Jeep rental from Alamo Rental and headed north on I-5 to Manton, which was about 2.5 hours away.
There are a lot of nut groves north of Sacramento, and fields of sunflowers, as well as fields of I don’t know what. But there was a whole lot of I don’t know what being grown. And there were mountains, too, off to the distance to the east, and off to the distance to the west. (Maybe it’s why this is called the “central valley”?)
En route, once I got off the interstate in Red Bluff and headed to Manton along the country road, the scenery got really pretty. There were mountains, some with snow off in the distance, and rolling fields up close. These fields were a nice light brown color, but they were all covered with black rocks, like God had made a valley full of brown gravy and seasoned it with pepper. I found out later that Mount Lessen, which is one of the snow-covered mountains many miles away, is volcanic and had exploded in 1915 and strewn all of this black rock, causing tremendous damage. There were vineyards, too, which surprised me that there should be vineyards this far north, but there they were.
Miss Moneypenny (my Garmin GPS unit) did me right, and I got to the Monastery of St John not long after Vespers had begun. Another guest saw me drive up and directed me to the guest house, where I figured out which room was mine. I changed into my cassock and sat on the front porch of the monastery with the bull mastiff until the brotherhood came out of church for dinner. Being expected, there was a place for me at the table. After the meal, which was taken formally (meaning it began and ended with prayer and was eaten in silence while a monk read spiritual literature), I met a few of the other guests. We talked a long time before we all turned in. Morning prayer here starts at 6 am…