An early morning errand on a workday Wednesday delivered me to a whimsical destination.
It had been a while since I’d made the right turn to Misty House but the memories flooded back as my car bumped down the rain-swollen drive.
The late John Kollock was a mentor to me and others whose love for this place knitted our hearts to his.
Assigned to pick up a donation of books from sweet Nancy, I stepped up to knock on the weathered door. In the pause of the morning, I spied symbols of hospitality from a lifestyle steeped in creativity.
My imagination sparked. That’s what happens when you land in a place where countless stories were coaxed into life by a poetic wordsmith wielding a watercolor brush.
There is a rusty bell hanging just outside the front door. Perhaps its peal delighted the birds that pepper the trees when warm breezes ripple the glassy pond.
Or maybe it summoned a curious grandchild scampering about the property chasing the chickens and the rabbits and the talking kitty cats.
I saw a tiny sculpture depicting a circle of friends tucked into a dormant flower bed. I’d seen the design before but it is perfectly placed here where the memories of twilight wine time gatherings still whisper in the winter wind.
I noticed the Lavender Cottage where a shy young girl, now accomplished young woman, practiced her own artful vocation under the gentle guidance of this couple.
When the front door didn’t open, I didn’t fret thinking perhaps Nancy was in the studio. I was redirected when I met daughter Carey in the driveway, delivering breakfast for the bunnies. She let me in to greet Nancy, whose morning routine, hastened by my call, automatically offered kindness.
Because that is how she is and how John lived. If there was an ask, they tended toward a ‘yes’ as the response.
A lifetime of extending invitations for fellowship and the sharing of abundance is a practice here.
We chatted like you do when you meet a friend whose generous heart is easy to love – sharing simple words of common affection.
To complete the errand, we walked over to the studio to pick out a trio of books.
Nancy opened the door but it was John’s spirit that welcomed me in.
My eyes grew hot before they started leaking. I felt his presence immediately in the dimly-lit space with his life’s work all around us.
The sensation expanded in just those few seconds. In remarking on my emotion to Nancy, I expressed gratitude for John and for what she is continuing to nurture in his absence from this side of eternity.
She aims to sustain his legacy to this place, these mountains and the people who make it so abundantly rich with stories.
Before he signed off on a painting, John always added a trio of birds to the sky.
The holy spirit.
The holy trinity. A reminder to us of our faith and the gifts of God’s beauty all around us.
Three distinct entities who share a divine purpose in how we live out our lives in relationship with one another.
So it is fitting we decided on three books for the donation as we reflected on John’s life and his family’s role in keeping his light alive.
John Kollock, I remember you.