August 25, 2008

Cathedral of the Pines

On Sunday, by some appropriate happenstance, we visited Cathedral of the Pines, which is on the way to New Hampshire. The name pretty much describes it, big open space on the top of a hill surrounded by pines. It's non-denominational (despite what the cross in the background might lead you to believe), and different congregations take turns having service there on summer Sundays.

Mr. and Mrs. Sloane created the space after their son Sandy died in WWII. They lived in a big farm house with plenty o' land, and granted a piece of property to each of their three sons. Sandy chose his plot at the top, and then went away to war and never came home. At some point a hurricane (yes, in Massachusetts!) ripped through, tore down some trees and created a lovely view of Mount Monadnock.

The Sloanes decided to honor Sandy, and all fallen soldiers, on the land Sandy chose by bringing different religions together to progress toward a peaceful future-- sort of the "all paths lead to peace" idea.

People from all over the world have left tokens of loved ones at the cathedral, and many of the pieces were built into the stone walls there. In the museum there were pictures of soldiers, letters and poems written to them. I especially liked the fountain honoring the women who had died in battle, a tree of life.

A sort of strange thing happened while we were there. I was thinking a lot about my bonus dad, Leisure Lee, and his brother Dale who died in Vietnam, and I wondered what Leisure Lee would think of this place, and thought that maybe we could all visit again when my parents come out in October.

But before I tell you what happened next, I have to tell you that Leisure Lee is an avid guitarist. I listened to him play guitar and sing almost every day that I lived in Auburn, and when we go home we are usually awakened by some random strumming and a tune or two played through an amplifier in what used to be my bedroom.

So there I was strolling through the flower gardens, checking out the bees, thinking about my parents, and cabbageheaded war, when over an amplifier came the sound of a single guitar. No singing, not really even a song-- just a little bit of this and a little bit of that-- but definitely something that Leisure Lee might play. It sounded just like home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful story and nice pic of the family. QW