Sunday, September 12, 2010
I lost my keys this morning. It was a chaotic end to a chaotic week. The first week of school seems to bring with it a heightened busyness everywhere you go and my workplace is no exception. Many families are establishing new routines or reverting to old ones and muscles that haven't been used in awhile are creaking and groaning in protest. So I couldn't find my keys, something that rarely happens to me, on the way out the door to visit St. Agatha Church in St. Agatha Ontario. The topper was I miscommunicated with my friend about our plans so I would be attending this church alone. But after the work week frenzy I looked forward to the quiet and serenity any church provides.
It was a grey morning with a light fog but even so I could see the steeple to St. Agatha Church about a mile down the road. It has been replaced within the last decade through donations not only from local parishioners but from the wider community as well who valued this church as a local landmark. The church sits at the country crossroads of Erbsville Road and Notre Dame Dr about 15 minutes from the city of Waterloo or 11 km NW of Kitchener. The original parish dates to 1857 and St. Agatha Church was built probably built about 30 years later to serve a growing farming community. While not a true Gothic church, it has a central tower and Gothic shaped arched windows. The brick at the entrance way is a slightly deeper colour than elsewhere and looks replaced, most likely when the tower was rebuilt.
Suggesting it's rural connections, it has a field stone foundation like many of the farm houses in the area and a simple metal cross sits atop the steeple. The interior feels much like the church in nearby New Hamburg - they almost feel like sister churches and if I lived close by I would have a difficult time choosing between the two. Where that church made use of shades of fresh greens for the smooth walls, this church uses shades of amber and yellow - very warm colours that suggest the change in seasons. There was a pumpkin display across the street that I was tempted to take a picture of when photographing this church. The stain glass windows follow one after the other down the side walls of the church and each has a multi-coloured geometric design on the lower half and the symbol of one of the 12 apostles on the upper portion. The congregation was young and plentiful and it was a pleasure to see so many families gathered on a fall morning. Somewhat surprisingly, there were several members of the choir and their voices were confident and joyous this morning. I notice that 4 people are listed on the bulletin as directors of the choir and it is evident that this parish puts an effort into the musical portion of the service and what a delight for those listening.
We had the pleasure of watching a baptism which made for a shorter homily. The reading was one of my favourites - the story of the lost sheep...and I thought again about my lost keys. Sometimes we loose silly things like keys or glasses and sometimes we lose friendships or children, ourselves, or our way. Faith reminds us that the Good Shepherd is always there to lead us back home.
Oh, and my keys? I found them when I got home.
This entry is a full day late in the writing of and I have lost sleep over it. I woke in the night a few times wondering if it was time to rise having had bylines and different parts of yesterday's events framed for this page. ....This morning I have nothing.
I awoke early Sunday and quietly got under way. I had time to enjoy my own company and decided that before I met my friend at St. Agatha I would drive through and photograph the valley that I adore so much .Leaving Stratford I went off the main highway and drove smaller secondary roads meandering in a SE direction. I drove at a slow pace taking in and cataloging what I saw along the way. The hardwood lots are going to turn very soon, giving up this years leaves and that event alone is worth watching and photographing. The big valleys in Southern Ontario are visually explosive in the fall when Nature decides to put on her autumn colours. Before long I was driving along the Huron tract and stopped again at Pinehill, parked and photographed the view. The sun hadn't made a full recovery from overcast and rain filled skies that had been in the area for days. Early morning fog was still hanging on and affected the light and photos. I plan to return and retake these shots during the fall and make sure there is sun on that day. I would highly recommend a trip along the roads that run beside the Huron Tract in the bigger centers where the pioneer planted trees that encroach the road are turning colours.
The slow pace is what I was after and had left my cell off for that very reason . As my friend was trying to get in touch with me I was seeing and capturing this gorgeous view. I turned to the south on Pinehill road and drove through the countryside with a certain lead going off in my head every once in awhile. This particular stanza wasn't one of the countless Knopfler guitar leads but rather a very sweet Irish fiddle lead that is in an amazing effort by Knopfler and Donal Lunny.This video and haunting melody have been forefront in my mind for a day or two and I don't mind a bit! Raglan Road is a story about impossible love and will stir something even in the coldest of hearts. Good luck with your new addiction!
I came to a cross roads and took a left, changed my heading and soon found myself at the top of another valley. This one is New Dundee Ontario and I cruised slowly into town . It being quite early on a Sunday am the vehicular traffic was negligible and the only pedestrian was a man wearing his Sunday best complete with umbrella walking happily up the road towards the church that is almost atop this hill. The man very graciously acknowledged my passing with a nod of his head and a curt flick of his wrist , using his umbrella as a walking and greeting stick. I stopped the car and introduced myself to none other than Graham Burkhart the current Pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church which we were standing in front of. I explained to Graham about my journey and fascination about a certain valley. He chimed in agreement over its beauty and suggested a few vantage points for photography. We spoke briefly of St. Agatha and both the Amish and Mennonite history in the region. I thanked him and left feeling wiser than when I came.
I turned North in New Dundee and headed for St. Agatha , soaking up this early morning drive on a foggy Autumn day. I stopped the car well before the town of St. Agatha to photograph a scene. The steeple of the Catholic church which was my destination could be seen from a great distance away and lent itself to a great photo op. When I stopped at the side of the road I used the car door for support to steady my hands and shot the scene. Turning I seen a great secondary scene and photographed it as well. An old GMC pickup that is still working out in front of a garage in tall weeds didn't have to ask to be photographed! I travelled on into town and parked the car in order to get more photographs.
I photographed St. Agatha church and waited for my companion to arrive. Unlike any other time in our journey's history we didn't connect and it was all because of a slight miscommunication. So with a full camera card I departed St. Agatha Ontario for home and vowed to retake the photos when it was sunny. I got up this am and did just that. I have posted the new photos.
Posted by Lorne/Maureen at 8:24 PM