Friday, February 06, 2009

The Big Freeze


This the view from my bedroom window looking northwest across the Hudson River. Yes, what you see beyond the tree tops is the river, frozen solid. These days, a Coast Guard vessel ploughs through the ice to keep the shipping channel open. Yes, again! The shipping channel is used by tankers hauling oil to depots in Albany. The Hudson River, celebrating the 400th anniversary of its discovery by Henry Hudson in 1609 is navigable well beyond Albany, the state capital (150 miles north of New York City). It is a tidal river, an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, so we have high tide and low tide and the water contains salt up to Poughkeepsie, just south of us. When the ice thaws in the spring I will be able to tell just by looking at the way the ice is moving whether the tide is coming in or going out.


Needless to say, the frozen river is both beautiful and treacherous. Ice was harvested from this river well into the 20th century. Ice, stored in huge barn like wooden buildings at river's side, was shipped throughout the year to New York city hotels and businesses via the river, super highway of its time. My Dad tells of Sunday afternoon rides aboard the Hudson River Line's huge passenger vessels during the 1930s.

Our monastery was built in 2001. Its large picture windows afford breath-taking views of the river and countryside. When we cannot stand the cold outdoors we can still commune with God in the wonder of all creation, a mystery of life and love.

The path down to the river's edge, an easy walk one way and not so easy on the way back up, has not been ploughed so getting there is out of the question for me. But when things begin to thaw (a welcome prospect since yesterday's 6am temperature was minus 3 degrees) and the sun is doing its bright early springtime thing, it is worth the walk to see the ice fighting its way down the river, bumping and crunching as example of the force of nature.

Stay warm and cozy.

1 comment:

Gerry said...

Thank you, dear Sisters , for your beautiful Contemplative Life....& thank you for all it does to sustain & strengthen souls like me...Gerry