In the course of my trip to Virginia, I met with five different figures from the blog-world (well, considering the presence of another small one--six). It is perhaps significant that two and a half of these meetings were initiated at a Church, one and a half at a bookstore (one was at a bookstore in a church, hence the half), and one in a Museum (Natural History to be precise.)
It seems that this sums up the motions of my life--God, Books, and Fossils. I met with Tom of Disputations, Kathy the Carmelite, Therese (who has no blog, but who frequents many and provides innumerable cogent comments), Peony Moss and Child (an utter delight, wonderful in every way), and Father JIm of Dappled Things (I went to Mass regularly at his Church).
Every one of these meetings was a blessing. Three were pretty much as expected, two people were totally unexpected. Since Fr. Jim has posted pictures of himself on his blog, there were no surprises to be had there. And Tom was exactly as I had pictured him, a wonderful surprise in itself. Ms. Moss was almost exactly as I expected, and her son was one of the great highlights of my trip. We spent the better part of two hours taking him through the various exhibits and I enjoyed myself tremendously. (Especially lovely was when we joined my family for lunch and Samuel was so forthcoming about sharing his food--he has learned very, very well.)
Therese was a complete surprise, and that has more to do with my prejudices with regard to the name than with Therese. (I know a great many hispanic and Philippino ladies by the name of Therese). And Kathy was a surprise to me. I guess because I had formulated no notion of what exactly I expected.
Each meeting was wonderful beyond words, illuminating, and worth everything all parties had to go through for the meetings to occur. I hope that all those I met were as rewarded as I was through the meetings.
Therese very generously gave me a book. It is this book that I am taking around with me as I drag my carcass through the various cities I am about to visit. It is R. Garrigou-Lagrange's Christian Perfection and Contemplation I've read about a hundred and twenty pages, understood perhaps as much as ten percent of it, and am bewildered and mystified as to why anyone would regard the life of a mystic as a "problem." But as Therese noted, given that it is a study of the mystical life according to the traditions of St. John of the Cross and St. Thomas Aquinas, it is the perfect gift from a Dominican to a Carmelite.
My thanks to everyone I met for taking the time and trouble to meet with me. I can't tell you how much it added to the trip and how much I enjoyed each meeting. Now, someday, we shall all have to meet in one place--oh say the Natural History Museum Paleontological wing, and I can give you a general tour and analysis of the invertebrate life in the fossil hall. I can provide minimal insights into the vertebrates--but I think we'd all have a great time. Thanks once again for the fantastic experience.
Now, T.S.--I'm going to be in Cleveland Thursday--want to run up from your abode? Just kidding--won't have time to even visit the Natural History museum there (They have a great Dunkleosteus(or here--fierce Devonian Fish) or my usual Polka Barn hangouts or even Stan Hywet Hall. Oh well, it is, after all, a business trip.