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A New Year’s Wish: Lonely Fences, Revisited

A winter walk along the winding road to St. Joseph’s Abbey during the Omicron upsurge.

Aging wooden fences line the twisting, hilly, half-mile long road that leads to St. Joseph’s Abbey. The views of fields and distant hills are lovely and uplifting. The walk to the top takes stamina, and provides time for meditation.
Occasionally, one notices posts and railings that need repair.
A closer inspection shows the effect of time and weather.
Closer to the top, the hills beyond come into view.
Finally, the land levels off.
The journey is complete.
Inside the abbey, visitors can rest in the quiet glow of stained glass.
May we all find moments of rest and hope in the New Year.

Mindfulness

Photographs from a visit to the grounds of the Barre Center For Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts.

At the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA thoughtful landscaping and architecture are designed to encourage reflection and contemplation in or out of doors.
Stone walls, sturdy trees, benches and other wooden elements recur throughout the grounds. Circular and domed shapes enhance architectural elements.
The large domed bell with striker is hung from a aged tree. In Buddhism, the bell is sometimes said to be the sound of the Buddha’s voice.
A dome-shaped stupa (a Buddhist monument housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha) is surrounded by greenery and stone walls.
The Meditation Hall features large circular windows. Circles are associated with enlightenment in Buddhist thought.
Wooden floors and exposed beams enhance the inside of the hall.
The vegetable garden is enclosed by a handmade willow fence. Garden sections are now being planted, as the Center will welcome on-site students once again this fall.
A wooden Thai Spirit House sits at the edge of the garden.

A Meditative Encounter

The isolation and quiet dedication of a solitary fisherman in the middle of a frozen lake captured my attention. This turned a frigid February day into a welcomed experience of mindfulness.

-Rutland State Park, Rutland, Massachusetts

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