A few stray flakes continued to fall from the milky sky as we walked out of our log cabin this morning for our weekly walk to Pearch Pond with our 14 year-old Australian Cattle Dog, Sadie. It is just short of a three mile round trip. Sadie loves her walks and we make an effort to get her out everyday for 2-4 miles to help keep her active and us as well. Before I broke my wrist two years ago, it was more often than not just Sadie and I alone on our walks, now she insists that Don comes along as well. It is good for all of us even though Maine winters dictate that we bundle up, especially on mornings like when temperatures struggle to rise above freezing. We are creatures of routine so Sunday’s our walk is to the pond, Saturdays (especially in winter) it is preceded by a 15 minute drive to the university where we walk along the plowed and salted trails and roads on campus, and once a week we incorporate our walk/hike with our “Rubi on the Road” adventures (jeep trips to scenic parks and nature areas throughout our adopted state of Maine). We are cretures of habit and this is definitly one that is good for both our hearts and souls.
After our walk on Sunday mornings, we usually watch Sunday Morning on CBS and I make a hot breakfast like oatmeal, homemade waffles, sourdough biscuits, or omletes/scrambles with a side of fresh fuits and or juice. In warmer weather it might just be cold cereal, toast, or eggs. Again there is always fruit or juice. Depending on the weather and the season we spend the rest of our Sunday catching up on reading the paper our or current book, working on whatever project we have in the works (Don is nearing completion on a solo cedar strip canoe he is building for me in the basement). We both like to read, though Don is much more able to focus for long periods of time while I have a more multifarious interests (or a short attention span depending on who you ask). Or more accurately, I tend to jump from one activity or chore to another at the drop of the hat. I could work for hours on a stain glass project while at the same time doing laundry and making additions to my weekly my shopping lists. But we know and accept that about one another. After all we have been together for nearly 40 years.
Although I was not raised Catholic, when Don and I started dating, we both agreed that our faith was important and agreed that we should attend services together. Because he only felt comfortable at a Catholic service, I agreed to go with him to Mass and learn as much as I could about his religion. Over time I came to realize that how the service was celebrated was not nearly as important as the underlying faith. When we lived in California in a small town with no Catholic church we went to Mass in the gymnasium at the junior high school, St. Jim’s as we often refered to it. When we moved to Maine, to a town no bigger than the one we had left behind, there were several Catholic churches, including a chapel at the Newman Center on campus at the university. It has both morning and evening services. The morning Mass is celebrated year round, while the 6:15 evening Mass only happens when the University is in session. Consequently it is populated mainly with students. It is full of life, energy and hope. It is where we choose to worship. It doesn’t mean that we ignore the problems of the Catholic Church in general, but at the Newman Center we see the faith and the hope of the students. They see the opportunity to make things better and to grow their faith. Don grew up in the Church, he was an alter boy and went to 12 years of Catholic school. It is who he is and he doesn’t see himself in any other church. For me, faith has always been more important than religion. Together our faith sustains us. It is who we are and what we do.