My theme this year is Places in my Heart, all about the places I've been and loved and that have mattered to me in a lasting sense.
For my regular readers, you'll see more than the usual once-a-week posts from me this month. I'm having a great time writing them, so I hope you enjoy reading them, too.
U is for Ouzinkie
I know that Ouzinkie technically begins with an O. But it does begin with a U sound . . .and I was having trouble coming up with place I love that starts with U. So, yeah, I cheated a little.
Ouzinkie though is a wonderful place. Monk's Lagoon on Spruce Island was the home of Saint Herman of Alaska, a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church.
It is still a retreat space, but also a pilgrimage stop and tourist attraction, an easy skiff ride over from Kodiak and a great place to spend a peaceful afternoon.
Herman came there as a hermit, but others were drawn to the man and the place, and a chapel, guest house, and school for orphans were soon added.
I only visited a couple of times. I myself am not Russian Orthodox, though I am, like many, an admirer or the architecture and iconography. The chapel there, by late morning light, definitely felt like a holy place to me. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I see the diffuse rays of light shining through the windows in the simple space, and it always brings me peace.
I guess part of me is always seeking retreat, though I'm not quite a hermit or a saint myself.