Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Ride to the Monastery

Saturday was a great cycling day so Barb and I set off from her house in Manassas hoping to clock up 20 miles.
 The first scenic view we saw but the usual ugly 'all looking the same' homes marred the photo. Barb pointed out some a little later that only had about 9ft between them with windows looking onto each other. Nice.
We saw the tops of these silos from the road and climbed up a bank to investigate further. We were intrigued to find a labyrinth walkway in what seemed to be a private garden. I was enchanted when I noticed the silos had stained glass set in them. We saw a man coming our way on a mower so backed away as we were worried we were trespassing but our curiosity had been sated so we were content.
Our next stop was the St. Benedictine Monastery. As we rode down the leafy driveway the sounds of traffic became distant and it seemed like we were entering a refuge of peace. We reported at the main office and spoke with one of the smiling nuns who seemed to have an aura of serenity surrounding her. There was a wonderful calming atmosphere about the place and we slowly rode around exploring.
We came across a small vegetable plot with a bench and swinging seat. This statue stood by a metal seating area and I was drawn to his face noticing that his eyes were almost alive. We couldn't fathom out what they were made of but he had a friendly air about him.
There was a garden further up set out in a circular design with pathways between the beds. The perennials were sprouting new growth and already many of the plants were flowering. One bed interested me in particular as it comprised of plants that deer don't like. Apparently they are not fond of thorns, fuzzy leaves or highly scented foliage.
This little chapel was being cleaned by another nun and she readily let us inside to have a quick peek at a few wooden benches, a mosaic on the wall and a stone floor. The monastery also has a thrift store so I know where I shall be taking my unwanted stuff when I have a clear out in the near future. Barb also found out later that the silos we'd seen earlier belong to the monastery so I shall look at those closer on my next trip to this little haven.
We reluctantly joined the mad traffic as we continued our bike ride and approaching Barb's house again were pleased to find we'd cycled exactly our 20 miles. Mission accomplished. We wrapped up the day with a BBQ; steaks, potatoes, salad and cheese with chips, and of course beer.
 Arde was quite vocal in his request for us to share and his persistence paid off with some juicy mouthfuls of steak followed by some serious lip licking. 
On Sunday, I drove out to Marshall to view a place to live that I saw advertized. I had first visited this small rural town a few weeks back and loved its character.
I found this abandoned house on the outskirts of the town and plan to revisit it.
So at the end of this month Kota and I shall be living in a converted farm building with regular visits from black bears, black snakes, foxes, deer and the family of barn owls that live in the silo at the end of my building. We'll be looking at the Milky Way and shooting stars in the evenings and enjoying the complete tranquility of the countryside. I shall be able to get back into my arts and crafts again since I'll have an extra bedroom and enjoy the pleasure of sitting outside reading a book without plane or traffic noises in the background. And I'll still not be too far from work or the city when I want to visit. Bliss.

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