Last summer I worked for a week as an assistant at a Latin-speaking program called the Rusticatio Virginiana. My “contubernalis” (roommate) there was a wonderful high school Latin teacher named Bob Patrick (“Robertus” in Latin). Besides an endlessly interesting spiritual path that has included being a Methodist minister, converting to Catholicism, and leaving the Church for something less authoritarian and more organic, something else about him struck me as important and inspiring for me. With his long hair, muscular body, and controlled and sedate voice, it was obvious that he had avoided – or transcended – the Latinist pitfall of being merely a brain on a stick (a pit I have been trying to climb out of for a long time). For a while he worked as a massage therapist – not something many Latin teachers do (and something that must make his wife very happy). His main spiritual interest now is Druidry, and every morning at the Latin program he would get up around 5 a.m. and vanish into the woods alone for an hour. When we got to talking about nature and especially trees, he proclaimed that I was a Druid by nature myself.
He now manages an online journal called Sky Earth Sea, which bills itself as a “journal of practical spirituality,” which of course is going to appeal to me. It has a Druid slant, although the main way that has been manifested in the past to me is its general ecological bent. He asked me to write a piece for it, and so for this latest (Summer 2009) issue I contributed an essay called “The Discipline of Solitude and Silence,” about my first stint in the cabin on Wildcat Mountain.
The website for the journal is http://www.skyearthsea.com/Index.html. There is a fee to subscribe to it, but I believe one issue is free if you register at the site.