Dream called from the Graymoor Friary near Peekskill, New York, just 57 miles from where the AT enters Connecticut in Kent. The oppressive heat and shortage of water have many hikers concerned.
I've always viewed astrology as a language used to illuminate life's roadmap. Four months ago, an astrologer I'd never met looked at my husband's chart and said that if he were living in Medieval times this would be the year in which he would go off to a monastery for a long period of solitude. I laughed at the image. Only a week earlier, Dream had flown to Georgia to begin hiking the AT. As far as I knew, there was no monastery on the itinerary.
Since the 1200s, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement have been providing food and shelter for homeless men. For the last 20 years, they have been welcoming AT thru-hikers to their friary.
Ordinarily, the friary can provide housing for twelve hikers. The accommodations include a room, a hot shower, use of laundry facilities, meals, and access to a telephone. But this summer the nuns from one of the area convents are using the friary's guest quarters while their own facilities are being repaired. The ballfield, complete with running water and a picnic pavilion, became home for the hikers. They were still given use of the showers, laundry facilities, and telephone.
Supper is served promptly at 5:30 p.m. The night Dream and RickRock were there, they enjoyed a hearty meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and Kool Aid. Breakfast was served promptly at 7:30 a.m. I would have asked my husband for more details but he was not the only one who wanted to use the phone, so we kept our call short.
That night I sat in the dark and thought of the times when I stood next to my mother on the docks in Norfolk and waved as the ship carrying my dad, C. C. Winterberg, HMCM, U.S. Navy, either pulled into port or sailed out to sea. No doubt my experience was a training exercise of sorts. For while Dick and I have never been apart this long, there is a strange familiarity to the scenario.
I also remember the time my dad came home from sea duty in the Mediterranean. Among the many presents he brought with him was a portable typewriter he'd purchased in France. Who knows? Perhaps when my husband comes home from Katahdin, he'll bring me a story.