After installing the summer Borbet wheels (which were both thrown in for free by the previous owner, which is a crazy good deal for me; AND which were given a great deal on new Hankook Ventus 2 tires and so forth thanks to my wallet-destroying friend, Tom) on the street in front of my house… and being lucky enough that the trucker’s warning triangles I once bought cheaply from Craigslist were sufficient enough to keep cars away, I packed the
car BATTLEWAGON and was ready to go!
With my good friend and fellow student Nathan, who will be living and working alongside me in this house over the summer, we departed YDS at 4pm or thereabout.
I cannot fully believe it myself, but 3 long and not always fun years in New Haven and at Yale can consider their days numbered – this trip was the harbinger of an escape less than two months away. Even less credible, but also true: we hit a total of 27 minutes of traffic, on I-95 south in NYC, before the George Washington Bridge, and otherwise had smooth sailing all the way. Fantastic, hard to believe, and a good start to a great weekend. We arrived at Nathan’s parents’ home in MD, and quickly passed out after a long day.
The visitation of DC and VA friends
I set aside Friday to go down and make a pilgrimage to places where I knew old friends still exist, and also to visit my prior institution, American University.
Between juggling attempted visits with professors and old friends, my initial stop by AU in the morning was just good for grabbing photos of a couple of these iconic views it was (surprisingly) good to see, again.
That said, I stopped by the school later in the afternoon after a lengthy lunch with friends, and visited with both a former roommate who know works in the AU public safety department; and one of my favorite professors of computer science, who showed me his newest craze – quadcopters. A lot of fun was had, and I look forward to further visitations with those folks and others over the lengthy summer!
The lunchtime hour(s) was spent catching up with my good friends Deb and Kim, whom I met and toiled alongside at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, in January 2013 – we were all prospective diaconal ministers, and in the midst of a grueling schedule, we got to become great friends. As one might imagine, and in spite of possible height differentials making direct conversation difficult (as per below), we had a fantastic time and a delicious meal at Silverado.
I drove something like 75 miles within DC and northern VA in a single day, and that was enough for me – after a good 12 or 13 hours away from Nathan’s folks’ house, I drove back and again fell into a blissful, deep sleep. As my time at home in Ohio a few weeks ago, for spring break, made clear to me: the benefits for mood, outlook, disposition, and body tension levels that I find from being away from negative settings (for instance, the latest disrespectful toxic housemate I am stuck with; the gang shootings around my house in New Haven, and the academic setting at YDS in general). Even as a stanger in the strange land of Laurel, MD, I slept like the dead and it was great. I fully suspect this sort of healthy, non-tense and indeed edifying experience of passing living in southern Maryland versus CT will continue for the whole summer, and I cannot overstate my thankfulness for and excitement about that.
The farm, the house, the joy
Saturday was The Main Event: first driving the 2 hours further south, to Saint Mary’s City MD – the historical landing site for the Catholic colonists who petitioned for a patch of land in the New World where they could worship (as Catholics were disallowed from worshipping in England at the time), in 1634. As the original state capital, it was a place which would remain small and agricultural up until and then after the point when the capital was moved to Annapolis – and this trend continues today. One of the peculiar aspects of living in “the county” (which is how everyone I met referred to the area), one will encounter a wide swathe of people whose family has owned the very expensive land they own since the 1640s… but who have no liquidity. It is our hope, through directly donating crops grown and also teaching how easy/cheap/healthy it is to grow one’s own food in the plentiful soil of the area, to help directly improve the lives of the surprising number of hungry in the area.
As you see in the two photos above, the setting around the house is extremely rural and empty (this is a siren song to my ears, tired as they and I are of the urban shitshow of New Haven). Below you can see the house from front and back, prior to the lead paint on the outside being scraped and replaced for our arrival at the end of May:
My bedroom is a lighter shade of green than my current New Haven home, and is a mere 120 by 144 inches, which is not a large space – but honestly, a part of my attempting to learn and grow this summer is in the key of “don’t bring too much, do too much, or worry too much” – so besides Ike and his house, my clothes, computer, and camping gear, I will not be bringing anything more. Such a small space ought to be entirely sufficient!
If memory serves, this little brown house is over 110 years old, and various portions of it are in different stages of being renovated for us; one of the finished areas is the kitchen, which looks lovely:
The members of the parish have already indicated a certain kind of excitement in helping us to furnish this building and make it a home and a house of hospitality and prayer; all told, then the housing angle of this summer couldn’t be any more wonderful!
Trinity Episcopal Church and Saint Mary College
Beyond the farming portion of the summer, I will be working with and learning from Pastor John Ball of Trinity Episcopal church, and that will involve several additional responsibilities. One of them will be preaching to both of the congregations in the parish (there is the main church building, seen below, and then a small chapel down the road with a commited, small set of older folks who live near and worship there).
Another project I know of from the very beginning will be helping manage, fundraise, and generally effect the cause of saving Church Point: a sandy small peninsula into the river off from where the church and the college is located, it has lost several yards of sand and sediment to the water since 1950 or so. The below photo shows the cross on the sand again, only because a big tractor was brought down to drag it 50 or so feet onto the now-shrunk shore. It will be like my Eagle Scout project days again, in many ways – but now with a certain kind of authority as “oh, that seminary intern guy”!
There will be many other projects ahead, but now all I can think about is my excitement to getting down there and settled into a healthy set of routines in a great little house with my good friend and classmate Nathan.
Excited beyond belief for this coming summer?
From delicious views and weather, to delightful locals and lands, I cannot think of anything about this summer which doesn’t have the capacity to be outstanding right out of the gate. Just in terms of measuring “average number of weekly gang violence within 2-3 blocks of my house”, I can already guarantee that this will be a more peaceful, wholesome, and edifying experience than New Haven. The nature of living with non-students, and outside of the bubble of seminary (it is not, to be fair, just YDS that has this – seminaries in general tend to become bubbles in so many ways), I rejoice at the chance to make lasting friendships with “real people” so to speak, people with mortgages, and debt, and jobs, and families… and people who DON’T babble about theory and minutia without any real life experience to back up their pontificating. (For reference, the preceding sentences of critique of my Yale/New Haven setting were GREATLY edited down, in terms of lengths and crass vulgarities).
In short, then: my summer internship in Saint Mary’s City, Maryland, is going to be a peaceful, edifying, educational, and positive experience to finish the last requirement to get my degree from Yale. I will be doing a blog specific to the summer, and I greatly encourage you to take a look once it is posted and running, later in May.
For now, back to the grind to finish this semester.