Saturday, February 11, 2006

Righting a Wrong

Before our dear abbot founded the monastery, he, a disillusioned philosophy professor from Yale, in the late ‘60s, drove his VW microbus into the desert of the American southwest, and came upon a Sherwood Covington, who over the years, in fact his whole adult life, attempted to build the perfect desert dwelling, using all natural materials, yet he, uneducated in really anything except perhaps, auto repair using but a hammer and pliers, spend years gathering timber from the distant Sierra Nevada, planed said timber and created a rather unique notching system for nail-less construction, that and a method of mixing native adobe with strands of wasted cacti and forming rather hardy bricks, whereupon he used this to foundation his ‘perfect’ desert dwelling, but even these very creative building blocks could not negate the fact that Sherwood did not understand certain fundamentals, such as gravity. When our future abbot arrive, as John Eastley then called, he marveled, in the beginning, at Sherwood's creation, but over the months he realized that Sherwood wasn’t building the perfect desert dwelling, but was frantically attempting to keep what he had built years before from toppling, and what amazed the bearded, and I suppose you could say, hippie, John, was that Sherwood wasn’t even aware that he was spending his entire life propping up a mis-designed structure. Sherwood soon died, and John never revealed to Sherwood that his life’s work was all in error. But the end-life friendship resulted in John receiving the title to Sherwood’s property, and after much thought and I should add, anguish, John disassembled Sherwood’s efforts, and then after drafting a well thought out design, used Sherwood’s hand-crafted building blocks to construct what is today the monastery chapel, a beautiful structure, that the now abbot always reminds us, was constructed from the timber and building blocks lovingly crafted by a Sherwood Covington ... Sherwood's life's work.

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