In Darwin's Cathedral, David
Sloan Wilson argues that religion is evolution at work. Looking at the
beginnings of yet another addition to the shrine of the holy mainecourse.com
website, I'd say our yearly camping trips have evolved into a religion.
Certainly they embody many of my early experiences painfully learned at
St Catherine's in Cincinnati. Most of the time, I'm uncomfortable. When
I'm not sitting, I'm standing. I no longer pray to Jesus to strike dead
my troublesome siblings, but I do pray to the fire that warms us. We spend
much time in one place, we drink more wine than the parish priest and
when someone cooks the rest of us sit at the table, eyes closed and tongues
This trip was like years past but in slow motion. Gray carpet imitating
clouds, rain that again convinced Dan of the evils of cotton, and wind
that never stopped blowing. The temperature remained locked at thirty-six
degrees, and for the first time ever, only two of us waded into the water.
No one swam. Our photographs are lies, because the moment the sun appeared
we fled our tarps to shoot rolls of film or fill compact flash media.
Except for our lake crossings we have reduced our risk and activity level
to almost nothing. We paddled across Nahmakanta lake, with our life vests
straining to remain closed over multiple layers, and bodies that have
grown too large. Rolling sideways with the waves I looked at my PFD'd
mates and thought of helium-filled birthday balloons tied to the railing
of the Titanic We did so little exercise we no longer compare our fitness
to the bed-ridden but to those dead a week. But what little we did with
our legs we made up for with our gums. As my father would say, we beat
While rotating around the campfire, avoiding wood smoke, we read to each
other from What Dreams May Come and Time To Check Out. We shared Sharon
Olds and Donald Hall's poetry, and most importantly, Mark Queijo's father's
WWII memoirs. We talked about family issues, word definitions, movies,
work problems - we chattered incessantly. We talked over breakfast and
before sleep in our tents. We talked as a group and in pairs on the trail.
Separated from the rest in the woods, I talked to myself.
I asked my mother for the name of the priest at St Catherine's and here
is her answer:
"The one I remember was Fr. Roddy. A younger one and I locked horns
but I don't remember his name. That episode really just about ended my
association with that church or any other. I should have felt sorry for
young fellow who probably had just been ordained. He is the one who told
he had never met a Protestant and perhaps he should meet my husband. I
advised him to start with someone else.
When he was transferred, Aline Frederick told me he had apologized to
congregation in the event he had not been sensitive to people of different
backgrounds. She said he must have meant me."
One Skipped Stone by Adam Kibbe