Living Forward

It was not quite a whim, but neither was it a plan long in the making. Yesterday, we attended the Sunday service of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady. Coincidentally, yesterday was the UUSS in-gathering, also known to the members and friends of the church as the “water communion.” Their water ceremony was similar to, but somewhat different from, the same type of event the Unitarian Universalist Village Church held just two weeks before. Neither the differences nor the similarities are especially important; conceptually, they are essentially the same: events intended to acknowledge a “new year” of gathering together after a summer during which many members of the congregation have been apart. A striking difference between the UUVC service and the UUSS service was evident in the fact that, at the UUSS service, everyone wore masks during the service. And the UUSS service was led by two co-ministers, women who also are married to one another. Near the end of the service, the ministers led the congregation in an installation ceremony for the new board of trustees of the church.

UUSS services are held in a beautiful mid-century modern building, designed and constructed for the church in 1961. The sanctuary is a domed structure with seating at the perimeter beginning at street level; each successive circle of seating is lower than the one before it. In the center is an open, flat circle. The building is beautiful, but it is showing its age. It needs work, but because the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (listed in 2014), the work will be expensive and closely monitored to conform to rigid standards. After the service, we we invited to join the congregants for a pot-luck lunch. We sat with two board members, including the new president. Unlike UUVC, the congregation was of mixed ages, ranging from very young children to elderly, long-time members. And one of the board members was a Black woman. That diversity is possible due to the fact that Schenectady is a very diverse community in terms of age, race, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status. I am glad we decided to attend. However, I was highly disappointed that—because we attended the UUSS service—I was unable to view by Zoom yesterday’s UUVC service, “Religion for Atheists,” delivered by Reverend Mark Walz.


Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

~ Soren Kierkegaard ~


The topography and vegetation surrounding Saratoga Lake, New York is stunningly beautiful. Living on or near the lake today must require significant riches; far more than I could ever hope to have. But just seeing it and soaking in the splendor of the landscape is adequate; just keeping property in pristine condition would require more money than I would ever have; and more than I would be willing to spend.  That’s true of so many places, though. Such is life.


After waking late (after 8:00 a.m.) this morning, I was a bit rattled, so did not write my usual early morning blog. Instead, we left the hotel in search of a country apple orchard store/cafe mi novia remembered from her childhood and subsequent visits to her home town. We found the country store, but discovered that it no longer served breakfast. And the “new” owners sold the apple orchard years earlier. So, after buying some apple donuts to go, we searched out another place; similar, but bigger and more exciting and inviting. We ate breakfast there and perused the extensive selection of beautiful vegetables. Then, we headed to the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery where her father is buried. After finding the place and getting some pictures, we wandered around Saratoga Lake, where we found the old house her grandparents had once owned. Too bad they sold it years ago; even in a state of disrepair, the tiny house directly on the lakeshore must be worth a small fortune today.


The time is past 4:00 p.m. We are back at the hotel, resting after spending the morning seeing the sights. Mi novia is downstairs, washing clothes in the hotel’s guest laundry. I have no idea what we might do tomorrow. I know only that we will leave Schenectady on Wednesday morning; probably beginning the direction of our trek back home. We are in no hurry, though. We have a lot of available time yet blocked on our calendar, so we may creep along the eastern seaboard for a while, inching our way back to Arkansas a little at a time. Who knows? I don’t.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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