Saturday, May 31, 2008

Monastery Cleanup

The Cistercian monastery, Our Lady of the Holy Trinity, had a few buildings that experienced serious damage last winter, including one that was destroyed, so today about a hundred and twenty people, including me, worked to remove the debris. I spent the whole day working on one building, which was a complete ruin; by the time we were finished, we had it cleaned off down to the foundation. As a result, I don't have good sci-fi related content for you today, but I do have pictures.

The crew was a diverse lot ranging from Knights of Columbus to high-schoolers to Mormon missionaries. All were hard workers. My photos, however, aren't too diverse, since I had to snap them on the fly, so I didn't get any good portraits. If only Snuffles the Dragon had come with me, we could have traded off the camera and gotten a better set of photos, but when I invited him to join the cleanup effort, we had a conversation something like this:

D.G.D.: Hey, Snuffles, you gonna help clean the monastery this Saturday?

Snuffles: I dunno. I'm pretty sure I'll be watching anime this Saturday.

D.G.D.: You do that every Saturday! Why don't you help out? They could use a good, strong dragon like you.

Snuffles: Are there going to be any attractive young women I can abduct and take back to my cave?

D.G.D.: I...I don't know, but I'd rather you didn't do that while I'm around, anyway. I mean, I know you're a dragon and you gotta do your thing, but it makes me uncomfortable--

Snuffles: Makes you jealous, you mean.
Yeah, so, to make a long story short, he didn't come. Here are the photos:

The front of the monastery itself.


Behold the idyllic, pastoral, The-Valley-from-Bone-except-with-less-trees landscape.


This shot is toward the buildings where we worked.


This is the building after a good deal of the debris had already been removed. We had to jump in and pull out all the strips of corrugated tin by hand. Most of the tin was already gone by the time I took this.


Another shot with some workers in the foreground. Can't you just see a giant dragon surrounded by a cloud of locusts bursting out of those mountains back there and laying waste to the unsuspecting valley-dwellers?


Sometimes I wish I could burn it all. Fr. Erik Richtsteig at Orthometer likes to brag about the bonfires he lights at Easter Vigil, but I bet he's never had a bonfire like the one we made of the wooden building debris.


Yeah, baby!


Now it's really going up! Burn, building, burn!

Well, there it is. It seemed that most of that building was made out of fiberglass insulation, so we were covered in the itchy stuff by the time we were finished. It was an itchypocalypse. In fact, it looks like I have a good fiberglass-induced rash starting on my forearms. But a little fiberglass didn't stop me from visiting the monastery's gift shop before I left. I picked up the following books, and I suggest you keep your eye on the first one, as it's likely to be the subject of our next Lenten Read-a-thon:

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