Mendicant monk

I saw a mendicant monk today, watching the churning waters of the Merrimack. He was dressed in brown wool –the tassels of a rope belt just barely visible under heavy cowls. His feet were in sandals, with thick woolen socks as an accommodation to harsh northern climes. I could not see if he was tonsured — he wore a regular stocking cap in the same browns. He sported the wispy beard of a boy who wanted to see what would happen if he didn’t shave.

His long strides made quick work of the old metal bridge.

I have seen him before and wondered. What order is he? What brings him here? Where is he going? What does he think, in his anachronistic outfit. Is it a costume he puts on and feels all cool and monkish, an SCA member walking the ungentle streets of Lawrence? Is he a man so driven by call that he put aside not only fancy clothes, as his forefathers did, but all the clothes of the culture into which he was born? Does his stride with spiritual energy to do work among the poor? Does he like that we all slow down to look at him?

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

One thought on “Mendicant monk”

  1. I have often wondered how orders — with their habits — deal with the Ash Wednesday scripture about washing your face when you fast. For whom do we put on holy garb? I would like to think that he is seeking to honor God, wishing for the day when holy was a virtue, and not irrelevant.


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