Thanks to Bob Sabath for introducing me to Raven’s Bread Ministry. Karen and Paul Fredette have lived an eremetical contemplative life in the Appalachian mountains for years. They also offer Raven’s Bread newsletter that allows hermits to share their experiences, questions, and reflections with one another.
I like their description below of how they live where they live. I was especially drawn to the image of Petra, the boulder. As we think about Christ as our rock and setting the homestead of the Christian community on the firm foundation of the apostles, let these images deepen your imagination:
We treasure the peaceful quiet of our home (Still Wood), set on a secluded mountain slope in the Spring Creek area of Madison County, NC. In our stewardship of Still Wood, we are accompanied by Neill and Cynda, our border collies and Merlin, our magical white cat. Our daily routine includes time for contemplative prayer and reflective reading.
In the warmer months, we make use of our outdoor chapel (Beth El Shaddai), a shaded gazebo where we are serenaded by dozens of feathered choristers, accompanied by the murmur of a small waterfall, and delighted by melodious wind chimes. We often meditate on Petra, an immense moss-covered boulder estimated to be among the most ancient rock on the surface of the planet. On her rugged surface, we feel we are seated on the knees of our Mother Earth, contemplating forests which shaded the Cherokee who inhabited these mountains for countless centuries before a white person ever beheld their lush beauty. Touching stone which has endured the changes of millenia reminds us of how brief our lifetime is; how precious are the days we have, and what a gift it is to spend them in service to solitary watchers and pray-ers around the world.