We run the air conditioner so we can sleep in the evening, but by morning it's chill out, and we wear jackets to Mass. Joe and I sit in the third pew from the back, where I get to observe Sandy's beautiful shawls. She usually wears T-shirts but says she likes this weather. Yesterday she had a warm red knit with textured white flowers. Today she wore one with a peacock on each side, and their tailfeathers covered her arms so it looked like she had wings. When she knelt, I could see roses across her shoulders.
The 10-minute drive to the monastery takes us across Route 301 to some more rural roads on the other side of La Plata. As we drive by, buses are just picking kids up from their stops, so we see people out and waiting - one girl applying hairspray outside her house, another arguing with a mother in a bathrobe.
Further along, there are cornfields and horses before the road slips into a tunnel of poplar trees. A small lot by the road is up for sale, and Joe and I like to dream of buying one like it someday.
Joe goes to 7:15 Mass at a nearby Carmelite monastery every morning before work. I've taken to keeping his schedule -- early asleep and early arise -- and I've come a few times now. The nuns are behind a grille to one side, mostly out of sight, and you wouldn't know they were there at first if you didn't hear them singing.
I don't know the name of this nun and her guitar, but at least one of the nuns behind the grille plays guitar, too. There is also the sound of a keyboards as they things their songs, modern and sometimes familiar ones, the 1970s compositions found in the Catholic hymnals.
The nuns do the Scripture readings as well. Tuesday's reader almost chanted as she intoned Paul's warning against Christians who seek lawsuits instead of reconciliation. Her voice was clear and soft and lovely, allowing admonitions and warnings to flow into praise as we laypeople in the pews sat and listened.
Thirty or so people come for the Mass, that they are like a family, gathering in bunches afterwards to joke about altar-server Dan and his love for Hawaiian shirts or to ask Joe about our honeymoon.