I spent last weekend in New York; Long Island to be exact. It was a rainy weekend, but not lacking in autumnal beauty. Anyone who has moved to a place where weather is mild and uneventful understands the yearning for seasons -- especially when one moves from the dramatic to the sublime. I have learned to recognize the little things -- the longer shadows, the colder, longer nights, the changes in the constellations -- here autumn sort of slips in the back door - quietly.
I was there for my beautiful nephew's baptism. I stayed with my sister and ate beef stew with a full bodied red wine (a meal made perfect by a wet, chilly autumn night). At one point I opened her door to let the dogs in, and a gust of wind brought a swirl of colorful leaves into the dining room. The image engraved itself on to my heart -- the leaves, the stew, the golden light of the fixture that hangs above the table, the cozy sounds of baby and family around the table -- a perfect moment.
The christening was held in an old stone church that sits nestled in an acreage covered by a thicket of trees. It is adjacent to a 400 year old graveyard, neatly surrounded by a delightful maze of gardens. The rain kindly stopped for us, the mostly gray sky dotted with blue and white. The trees around us were completey dressed up for the occasion -- bright yellows, deep reds -- a cacaphony of color -- a tribute to the Master artist. My sister loves it here, and I completely understand why. She eagerly shows me this palate as if to say, "See this and remember. Don't you miss this? Don't you want to have this in your life?" "Yes!" my heart cries -- but I stay quiet, not to disturb the holiness of the moment.
The church is very small, very traditional -- a tapestry of rich carved woods and incredible stained glass windows. A semi-circle of stained glass accentuates the altar, the baptismal font looks as if it were carved from one beautiful piece of mahogany. It is a peaceful, reverent place. The giggles of many children and the quiet laughter and occasional reproach of adults doesn't interrupt the peace that abides here. I didn't want to leave. It seemed like a dream -- surreal and impossible. The christening went quickly, as all things tend to do -- over before you know it. The baby, prone to crying in ordinary circumstances, did not utter a sound even when the water was poured upon his perfect little head. He watched everything with his big blue eyes full of wonder, under the same spell I was it seems.
Overall, it was a quiet event attended by my brother-in-law and his family (parents, siblings, nieces and nephews aged 0-7), our parents and me. My husband and children were in California, separated by the miles, the schedule and the cost of airfare. Their absence made the event seem even more like a dream. We all attended a dinner celebration at a restaurant built into an old colonial house that overlooks a picturesque forest-engulfed pond. The same colors sang from the landscape, and despite the volume of their combined voices, the hush was as heavy as a thick blanket. It was a beautiful day; a perfect day. My nephew will not remember it. But I will. And I will tell him of it. It is engraved on my heart.
God Bless you Logan Jeremiah O'Sullivan. Welcome into the family of God. You are born of flesh, now born of water. I pray for and look forward to the day you will be born of spirit.