Sunday, April 27, 2008

A BRIEF SOJOURN IN MASSACHUSETTS
While disconnected from the Web for a few days, I discovered a bit of New England

UNEXPECTEDLY UNPLUGGED. I didn't expect to have no readily available Internet access when I headed to the Boston, Massachusetts area for a three-day conference (plus an extra day lost to travel). But, such was the case, as I accepted the graciousness of a home-stay instead of a hotel. The Lawrence, MA, church at which our conference was conducted was not wired for Internet access, but we enjoyed rich fellowship and a generous sharing of ideas.

PEDALING NEW ENGLAND. This was my first visit to New England and the weather looked to be warm and sunny. I decided to box my black Cannondale touring bicycle and take it with me on the flight, in hopes of pedaling around New England a bit. My hope was fulfilled. I biked three days, including one jaunt up into Derry, New Hampshire and an extended ride over to Salisbury Beach on the Atlantic seacoast. I rode past the birthplace of poet John Greenleaf Whittier and through towns founded in the 1600's. I suppose I put a little over 120 miles on the same bike (same tires, no less!) that I rode through India last year.

DISCONNECTED, RECONNECTED. So, I made no blog entries for four days and caught only snippets of the news. But the days were filled with meeting new people, enjoying great vistas on brisk rides, and living on the receiving end of authentic hospitality. I felt simultaneously disconnected and reconnected. I felt both a bit of disorientation and a real sense of belonging. I was in the minority as one for whom English is the only or primary language (Lawrence, MA, seems to be predominantly populated by immigrants from the Dominican Republic). Just the same, I was welcomed, listened to, and appreciated. I think I will contemplate these four days for quite some time.

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