Having gone through architecture school where I spent a semester living and studying in Rome, I have developed an affinity for old churches, especially ones that evoke an austere simplicity like this one. Completed in 1708, it is one of the oldest Episcopal parishes in the United States. The building is wonderful. The church is always open and in all the years I’ve been there I can’t remember one single time when anyone else was there but me. The silence inside is totally enveloping and is almost uncanny.
For the past 16 years, starting one year after my father died in 1996, I have come here on March 13 to write a letter to him, telling him things that happened in my life throughout that year. When I am finished, I put the letter in an envelope, seal it, write the date on the front, and file it at home with the ones from previous years.
I don’t know why I chose this church as the place to write these letters. I am not a religious person and I don’t attend this church. It’s just something about this place that draws me in and makes me want to come back. Maybe it’s the fact that in all the years I’ve been here not once has the door been locked, and not once has anyone been inside but me. Maybe it’s the total and complete feeling of solitude I get when I am here. There are no sounds inside or outside. No traffic, no voices, no humming white noise of electricity. It’s my perfect place.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with these letters to my father. I have not opened any of them – they are all still sealed shut. Maybe when I’m older I’ll take them all out and read them. Maybe I won’t. Until then, I plan to come back every year on March 13th to spend some time remembering him.
Below are a lot more images from today. It was very hard to select which ones to post so I just decided to post them all.