Venerating the ancestors, and going home...

A recent trip took me to New Haven, Connecticut, to visit Christ Church. It's an Anglo-Catholic parish with a clear identity, offering solemn high mass on Sundays, but its biggest draw is Compline. Scores of undergrads from Yale flock to Compline, which is sung each Sunday at 9pm, in a church bathed in candlelight and as much incense as the parish interns can burn--which is considerable. It's the ecclesiastical version of a Grateful Dead show.

While I was in New Haven, I visited some of my old haunts at Yale, including the Div. School. As I walked down a hallway, much to my surprise, I saw the portraits of several of my old professors. (Most have long since died, which made me worry about the others I thought to be still alive, until I saw a sign indicating that it was simply a gallery of professors emeriti, and that death was not a prerequisite for inclusion.)

It was both good and strange to go back. I learned serious liturgy, serious photography, and serious history at Yale. I look back on my college career and my time at the New Haven Register with warm feelings--Div. School was more complicated--and there is a certain nostalgia at visiting the sites of one's youth. But the wisdom of Heraclitus applies: a man can never step in the same river twice. It was good to return home to my wife and child and my middle-aged life.