As I was getting up this morning to start my workday, the dear husband was coming home from work. He is pulling a longer-than-usual workweek for a variety of scheduling reasons this week (and a half), so we are basically ships passing on most days. Before crashing, he showed me a cover of today’s Wall Street Journal and told me that a similar article was on the front page of The Washington Post. I also found something similar in The New York Times. The picture to the right is from the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation (Preservation Virginia) and shows the painstaking work of recovering the bodies buried on the site of the old church in Jamestown.
Why all the interest? American students are taught in the early years of grade school about the Pilgrims making their way to Plymouth Rock in 1620, about the year of suffering and death all by wiping out that colony in the New World, and subsequent harvest, feast and celebration, giving rise to what we call our Thanksgiving Day in the States. It isn’t until we get into the double digits that we learn about the first colonies in what is now the U.S.: the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke and Jamestown. There is literally nothing left of the Roanoke colony, but Jamestown, in southern Virginia, still exists as an archeological dig and a tourist spot. The first wave of settlers from England to Jamestown, supposedly all Anglican, some second and third sons – the losers in the rule of primogeniture – some there to seek their fortune, and others arriving in this wild land for reasons of their own, sailed here in 1607. In the years that followed, most of them died from disease, starvation, and death during battles with the native peoples. The short articles in todays papers were heartbreaking in the description of the privations and cruelties these poor folk endured. When another wave of settlers arrived approximately three years later, they were devastated by the sight that greeted them: starving survivors and a broken down church building.
It was under the floor of the church that the remains of four individuals were found from various social strata (even in the wilderness, standards were maintained). One was a clergyman, two were Captains, and a fourth the relative of a leader from whom I would guess the State of Delaware took its name. All of them were under forty years of age. That the men were buried under the church was an indication of their relatively high status in the eyes of the community. The two most interesting (to me at least) were Rev. Robert Hunt, arguably the first English clergy in the Americas, and Capt. Gabriel Archer. Rev. Hunt, the eldest of the deceased, was approximately 39 at the time of his death and he was buried in a shroud. Capt. Archer was buried in a coffin and with him was a box that appears to have been a reliquary (a box containing pieces of the bones of a saint along with a few other things)- a very Catholic item. Capt. Archer’s parents had been Catholics who refused to change spiritual allegiances. The thinking right now is that either Capt. Archer was part of a secret Catholic group or that the reliquary was something he kept with him as a vestige of the “old” religion in England. Who knows?
So why am I writing about this on a blog that is normally dedicated to knitting? John and I visited Jamestown back in October of 2011 when we went to Colonial Williamsburg for our 35th wedding anniversary. We walked quite a bit, which was difficult with John’s back at the time, we had dinner at the inn there, which was lovely and went to services at the church. We also took a ride to Jamestown to tour the site and soak in the history of the area. Even today, there is a sense of quiet grimness about the place. We were there on a beautiful autumn day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the water surrounding the area sparkling. There was a pleasant breeze and the grass was green under our feet, but this was no playground. I remember walking into the old church building which was tiny by today’s standards and feeling a hushed sense of awe. Not terror – these souls are at peace – merely awe. And gratitude. If not for the people who faced this kind of privation and death, many of us would not be here today. Perhaps we need this kind of courage to face what lies ahead for this country and do what must be done to make it an even better place.
So much and so little have been going on. Work has been very busy. Nothing new there – and nothing I can discuss here of course. The home front, too has been eventful to say the least. The divorce of one of the adult kids is final, custody and other issues have been resolved, and I am cautiously optimistic that things will start to heal. We now have three graduate degrees in the family – two Masters and one JD and the youngest is taking the Merlin Bar Exam as I type these words. Others of the progeny are having a difficult time with various things. We are all plugging away, taking one step at a time. Life throws us curveballs – some good and some bad – and then we deal with them.
In terms of music, the summer months are usually a hiatus for church choirs, but we have had a recent ordination and were happy to participate in that. I was also very privileged two days prior to the ordination to participate musically in the wedding of the ordinand and his husband, presided over by our Bishop, who sang a blessing in the form of that beautiful Baptist hymn, later adopted by the Quakers, “How Can I Keep from Singing?” It was a wonderful experience, in that small, intimate chapel within the Cathedral, giving witness to love and surrounded by it at the same time. It was equally wonderful to be able to slip away afterwards and catch up with Nancy.
Since then, I have not been back to church. No major falling out. In fact, I was supposed to do a reading on Sunday, but got a nasty attack of vertigo and had to find a quick replacement. We start back up in September with the choirs, but will also have a couple of extra rehearsals the end of August, thank goodness;)!
Knitting – oh hell yes – lots of knitting has been going on. Right now I am in the middle of a project – a sweater for each of the grandkids by Christmas – so far two are done and I’m about a quarter of the way through the third and fourth.
Not that I haven’t added other projects as well. Currently I have 67
projects on the needles and 50 in hibernation. But I’ll have them done. When I’m 65. Maybe. Here are a few I’ve been working on:
Some of these are not new, but a little bit has been added on. I am particularly hopeful of getting Dryad and the Hap done by Christmas. We’ll see.
Finally, if I haven’t bored you to tears, I’d like to introduce this little number, one of my own designs – Silken Lace Cowl – still a work in progress. I am using that beautiful silk yarn sent to me by Hamilton Yarns last month. So far, not bad:). If you’d like to try your and at the pattern, it is posted here on my patterns page.
Well that’s all I have for now. Take care of yourselves and
God be with you ’til we meet again+