As we bid adieu this week to Lori and wished her well in her new adventures, our already small resident community shrank to two. But we were not as alone as that may seem because we welcomed back some familiar faces that we had not seen in months. Ron, Cecilia, Susie and Lorraine were all back in the house, if only for brief visits in some cases.
Of course, the residents have not been completely isolated these past months. The wildlife have been a constant source of entertainment and awe: the hummingbirds who feel right at home with the residents; does and their fawns exploring the woods unencumbered; turkeys of all ages walking the labyrinth or strolling through the yard; our resident woodchuck lumbering up or down the drive in search of his evening meal; Mama Fox teaching her little ones to hunt; even sightings of lumbering black animals with white stripes best viewed from a distance (the badger vs. skunk debate continues).
And we have had people company as well from time to time. Dave has been coming in throughout the pandemic to take care of business, but he was usually in and out with no one even knowing. More recently, as we have begun to re-emerge from our long winter’s nap, JustBob, Jackie H., Jackie K. and Kim had been coming in as needed. They were all here this week as well, and it is always good to have them with us. Even so, the additional familiar faces this week somehow just made the house feel more “normal” regardless if we were not all together at one time.
Transitions are always a challenge. Whether it means adjusting to new expectations for mealtimes (no more sitting together around one table) or learning to wear a mask whenever we are in the halls or in a room with others, it takes time and patience to find the best way to cope with our new reality. And to find new ways to be community.
For those of you who will be joining us here in the coming weeks and months, you will have some adjustments to make as well. Chairs in the chapel have been socially-distanced. The refectory has been rearranged to keep our staff and guests as safe as possible. Face coverings will be standard accessories for everyone, and it will be strange not to see your smiling faces. Stranger still will be not sharing hugs as you come and go. Some familiar routines will need to change as well, but those details are still being discussed.
Even this Chronicle is likely to seem different to its faithful readers with a new Sister Chronicler at the keyboard. For one thing, the “elder” Chronicler is not as poetic as her predecessor. For another, we hope to solicit contributions from other members of the St. Anthony Community (staff and regular volunteers) to offer more diverse voices and perspectives. As always, the goal will be to keep our friends informed and entertained with all the happenings of this grand old house.
Transitions. For all that has been, thanks! For all that is yet to be, Yes! Deo Gratias!