Thursday we welcomed 34 guests. Friday, we added 20 more guests. Saturday, we welcomed another 31 guests and said goodbye to 64. Sunday, we said goodbye to 21, then prepared to welcome 72 later that afternoon. The last of the guests left on Tuesday afternoon. It was a very busy six days!
Monday, we welcomed a different kind of guest – this time it was thousands of snowflakes. More snowflakes came on Tuesday, still more on Wednesday in the early morning hours. Then Brother Sun appeared briefly on Wednesday and chased some of those guests away. No need to worry, though, as more of these fluffy white guests arrived on Thursday. We don’t if they are here to stay for several months or if they will be gone in a week or two.
What we do know is these most recent guests add a layer of beauty to the landscape, but there was not so much snow that our two-legged guests could not get out and explore the beauty of the grounds: the beauty of the dusting of snow on the roses in the courtyard; the beauty of the white frosting on the dark, bare tree limbs; the beauty of the white blanket on the labyrinth.
More beautiful than the snow are the footprints left behind, to remind us of our guests’ presence with us. Usually the footprints left by our guests are not visible. The only visible reminder we have of those who have been here is the worn paint on the concrete in the cloister hall, and those reminders take us back many years, to the friars who studied here and all the retreatants who followed in their footprints for more than 50 years now. It’s not as though we can identify who made which footprints, yet they remind us daily of their presence here as well.
For the beauty of the snow, for the spirit-filled presence of all those who walked these halls and grounds, past and present, and the footprints left behind both inside and out that remind us of their presence, we say Deo Gratias!