Going West

Jim and I caught a flight to CA at Dulles.
TIP: Jim upset the system at security check-in. He had had a thalium stress test a few days ago and he set off the security alarm. Fortunately the folks at the doctor's office had warned him this might happen. They also gave him a little card to show the security guard.

The extra leg room with Jet Blue is great. Now if they could just guarantee smooth air all the way across the US. These clouds may look peaceful but it was rocking and rolling most of the way. Jim reads right through it while I close my eyes and clutch something.

When we fly Jim sits on the aisle with me in the middle. The woman who slid into the window seat proved a very interesting seat mate. She was quietly talkative. And she told me lots about herself. Turns out she had been born in China of missionary parents and had lived all over the Far and Middle East. Our conversation was wide-ranging from spirituality to our children.

At one point in the conversation there was a reference to monastic life. She told me of a new movie, de Stille - about the French monastery Chartreuse. The name triggered a memory for me. I told her I thought I had been there.

The more she told me about the movie the more I remembered of the day Jim and I drove with Enid to a monastery in Provence. The memory was so vivid. In September 2001 Jim and I were meeting a group from the US to tour Provence. We and the organizer, Enid were already in Italy. 9/11 happened in NYC. Jim and I met Enid as planned in Nice. The group never arrived, in fact they never left the US. Jim and Enid and I rented a car and valiantly followed the itinerary as we waited out the time until we could board our flight back to the US September 28. Our bumbling through Provence is an other story.

Tonight I took the memory to Google to find out more about Chartreuse. Oops. Yes, We went to a monastery but it was not Chartreuse . It is a wonderful memory but it is a memory of ANOTHER place.

Le Thoronet (www.provenceweb.fr/e/vae/thoronet/thoronet.htm)
The day we walked through this very space it was also empty. From somewhere on a lower level a group was singing unaccompanied plain song. The clear pure notes floated through the space. I sat in one of the windows you see in this picture and listened for a long and quieting time. Prayer.

I am grateful to my Jet Blue seatmate Carolyn for reminding me of that lovely peaceful moment in a time of potent angst.