Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Best Weekend

Last weekend was a model example of the perfect weekend. No kidding. And considering the tremendous stress of late and my recent emotional state, I needed it.

On Saturday morning, a group of five us girls met up at the church (only three of us attend that particular one, but it's an easy place to meet at) and headed off to gorgeous Bedford. Out by the Peaks of Otter is an adorable apple orchard and working farm where we intended to pick apples. The public picking had ended the week before, sadly, but we were still able to get loads of delicious apples from the barrels. I bought an entire peck of apples, and I have a great many happy schemes for them. We were invited to tour the farm, so we took our time strolling out in the fantastic September weather (sunny and warm), admiring the mountains in the background, petting cute animals, and generally being rather silly. One particularly friendly baby goat charged down a hill bleating at us as we went to leave, then insisted on being petted and exclaimed over by all before he would part company with us. He reminded me a bit of Jasper.

After the orchard, we drove into the town of Bedford to an adorable restaurant, The Station, where, oddly enough, I had my graduation luncheon back in 2006. The food is still as wonderful as ever, I am happy to report. We followed lunch with some shopping and sightseeing, then went back to my place for an evening of old movies. Yes, I have successfully converted not one, but ALL of my friends! Thanks to me, they are all freshly minted Myrna Loy, William Powell, Jean Arthur, Doris Day, Jack Benny, and Lionel Barrymore fans (oh, and they are steadily being introduced to a healthy diet of other legendary talents as well). I feel very proud.

On Sunday, my dear friend Rachel and I went to the new Sunday School class at our church for the first time. It was excellent, more like a group discussion than a class. I cannot wait for the next one! The service, as always, was meaningful and pertinent. Afterwards, I spoke to our priest about my desire to join the church as a member, and was heartily welcomed. I'm hoping to be able to be confirmed when the bishop visits in October. (I'll post about my switch in churches later, as longtime readers may be curious by the obvious departure from my previous church experience.)

After church, Rachel and I prepared a wonderful high tea and spent the rest of the day delighting in Jane Austen (we watched Persuasion) and reading for class, while sipping properly prepared tea, dainty sandwiches, and delicious hot scones with clotted cream and lemon curd. I have seldom had a weekend that so thoroughly distracted me during a time of difficulty. It was almost medicinal for me, and I found myself greeting the new week with much greater strength than I had hoped for.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"