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IMG_20140513_203747May 13, 2014 Harrisburg, PA

I arrived in Harrisburg a day early. I thought it would be good to settle in before I started. Well, turns out all the others are arriving tomorrow and we officially start our orientation for Portugal on Thursday! Two days from now. But, you know, I receive this as a gift.

The guest house is not that expensive and my room is amazing! It has a glass door, flanked by two windows of equal size, opening onto a porch which extends directly out onto to a meadow! Yes, a green, grassy, rolling meadow! In fact, my entire surroundings are a glorious collection of green, grassy, rolling things. Small hills and tall, mountains, and miniature mounds which undulate as far as my eyes can see. This is Pennsylvania. My gosh. I had no idea.

I catch sight of a glowing pink mirror glimmering in the distance. I recognize that glowing mirror. I’ve seen one like it before from the heights of Jordan’s Mount Nebo at dusk. That salty marvel we call the Dead Sea. This rose-toned, silvery pool of liquid is much smaller, but ignites with like luminance under the same brilliant, setting summer sun.

It’s hazy over the hills. The layers of shadowy silhouettes fading progressively into the white abyss stir memories of Italy. It is there, while studying abroad in college, I learned this effect is called atmospheric perspective. The recollection makes me nostalgic.Orientation_ABWE_May 16, 2014-8 - Copy

So many memories. Memories, connections, joys; all resurfacing as I simultaneously create new ones. I lean my chin into my hands, my knuckles nestle beneath my nose. I inhale and discover the sweet smell of my boyfriend lingering on my fingers. It infuses the oxygen filling my nose. Another excellent surprise gift. I am happily distracted for a few

I peer out across the grand lawn once more. At the wind’s touch the blades of grass are set into musical motion. Their song is a robust hush heard as the airbrush paints waves across their verdant canvas.

Then it all stops. All but the awful, high pitched screech of a machine’s blade somewhere down the hill in front of me. I’m grateful this lasts only a few moments. Soon enough wind, grass’ hush, and the chimes (which have been cooing much of this time, as well) all return.

The chimes’ tones penetrate the air like the music of spheres. They have this ethereal ring. As if to remind me, There is more than what you see. You are part of a grand mystery. I speak these wonders aloud and as I do the chimes’ song grows louder and more diverse. It is as if they are affirming they know what I only hope and wonder to be true. That we are all of one current, one song. Interconnected. This magical choir. One magnificent opus.

This entire scene: rolling hills, wind, chimes–this whole day–has been absolutely wondrous. Ripe with unexpected gifts of beauty and rest. What extraordinary love the Giver has. What generosity. I’m grateful, thank You.Orientation_ABWE_May 16, 2014 - Copy