The Rev. John Predmore, SJ. chaplain to the staff, faculty, parents, and alumni of Boston College High School on Columbia Point, likes to go down to the sea again and again from his home on the school’s campus. After a recent walk along the edge of Boston Harbor, he reflected on the experience on Facebook with the following meditation:
“After dinner, I decided to talk my usual evening walk, and yet I was debating with myself because it was 27 degrees in this early wintertime. I bundled up and stepped outside and noticed a rabbit scurrying to a safer place. The wind was gentle coming from the southwest and I was feeling cold. I could go back inside the building and get my steps with vigor in warmth, but as I walked, I quickened my steps. I crossed into the Harborview apartment complex and noticed that the wind was absent, which would make me stay outdoors longer than I intended. I noticed there were no cars and I hadn’t yet seen a pedestrian. I was almost to the ocean.
‘My intent was to make some phone calls, but I realized it was too quiet to break the silence with a phone conversation. I simply walked. The ocean was still, the harbor endorsed serenity, the air no longer felt cold. The walk seemed like a present to me, like the stillness one enjoys on Christmas Eve, when everyone is nestled into their homes in coziness. I felt that coziness, and this seemed to be the Christmas Eve walk I typically take each year, except the rain kept me from doing so. A few more rabbits darted about and the ocean air was fresh while the ocean’s waves were not even lapping the shore.
“I enjoyed this moment. The night was all mine. I walked the boardwalk that led to the cupola and I breathed in the cold air. My chin was warm because I did not need the mask to cover my nose because I was the solitary figure at the beach. I choose my route to walk the length of the harbor that leads back to my residence, 3.5 miles in all. I crunched a few mounds of icy snow and continued on. Still, no wind, and I felt warm. The silence even extended into the ocean – no boats, no ships, not even the sound of a bird. The full moon lit up the harbor. No camera could do justice to the setting. I walked steadily, taking some stops along the way to marvel at the harbor.
“I passed by the presidential library and heard my first sound – the cables to the mast where the sailing flag was flown, but that sound soon dissipated and I was alone in silence again. I felt delight that I was experiencing this marvelous night. I passed no soul, not even the Brazilian fishermen. Not a soul. This was for my enjoyment, and I walked. I turned the corner of the harbor walk and was nearly half a mile from home when I heard overhead geese returning to our lawn. The wind picked up but remained steady. It was a night worth spending outdoors. Just me and the ocean. Five hundred yards from home, I saw the only car, and I passed by a few more rabbits, and I was home once again. Warm, and happy.”