Sanctifying spokes and spirits in Salisbury

Bikers gather at All Saints of America Orthodox Church in Salisbury for the Blessing of the Bikes, led by Father John Kreta.

Sava Marinkovic

Sanctifying spokes and spirits in Salisbury

SALISBURY — In early afternoon on Sunday, June 16, the quiet rustling of leaves gave way to the roar of engines as a curving column of motorcyclists arrived at All Saints of America Orthodox Church in Salisbury.

The bikers — nearly 60 riders between 44 bikes and trikes — journeyed from throughout Connecticut and neighboring New York to receive the church’s seventh annual Blessing of the Bikes.

A prayer opened the event, with bikers and regular parishioners assembled in the road alongside the stretch of wax-shined bikes. Father John Kreta, the parish’s priest-in-charge, intoned an invitation to prayer in the traditional Orthodox manner before all the gathered joined in a spoken recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

“It’s a joy to be with everyone and to share a meal,” said Fr. John, “but we worry about everyone on the roads, too.” To that end, blessings serve riders and their passengers as both offers of protection and calls to mindfulness of biking’s perils.

Over each vehicle, Fr. John signed the cross with a water-saturated brush, saying: “This motorcycle is blessed with the sprinkling of this holy water, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

After every bike was visited and blessed, ample food and refreshments were offered — distributed to attendees alternately sitting, standing, or lying in the grass to bask untroubled in the sun of an early-summer’s day.

The groups of bikers and congregation members gather for a group photo.Sava Marinkovic

The turnout, although nominally somewhat less than that of the previous installment, comprised a great deal of newcomers alongside long-time supporters of the yearly tradition. “Almost half of the bikers were visiting for the first time,” noted Fr. John, optimistic about the prospect of the event’s growth in coming years.

On behalf of those the blessing has already served in years past, organizer Jimmy Dunn spoke of the event’s significance. “It has helped so many of us,” said Dunn, “and even comforted those who have lost loved ones.”

“We’re all trying to help each other live more spiritually,” continued attendee Mike, noting that bringing everyone together annually for the blessing has strengthened their collective resolve to do so. Around him, those seated signaled their affirmation, testifying how both motorcycling and adherence to a shared faith have helped the bikers to overcome life’s hardships and preserve bonds with friends and family — those both near and distant.

The warm and convivial mood that seemed to pour out from the group made the fact of this apparent, with the comfort of lifelong friendships obvious in the easy conversation that abounded.

Toward the close of the picnic, a call was made to organize the various subgroups that would accompany each other home or to further activities. Photographs snapped and hands shaken, some ambled into the church to reflect or pay their respects. The rest mounted their motorcycles to begin their winds away, the sound of engines once again overtaking all else.

Latest News

Thru hikers linked by life on the Appalachian Trail

Riley Moriarty

Provided

Of thousands who attempt to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, only one in four make it.

The AT, completed in 1937, runs over roughly 2,200 miles, from Springer Mountain in Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park of Maine.

Keep ReadingShow less
17th Annual New England Clambake: a community feast for a cause

The clambake returns to SWSA's Satre Hill July 27 to support the Jane Lloyd Fund.

Provided

The 17th Annual Traditional New England Clambake, sponsored by NBT Bank and benefiting the Jane Lloyd Fund, is set for Saturday, July 27, transforming the Salisbury Winter Sports Association’s Satre Hill into a cornucopia of mouthwatering food, live music, and community spirit.

The Jane Lloyd Fund, now in its 19th year, is administered by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and helps families battling cancer with day-to-day living expenses. Tanya Tedder, who serves on the fund’s small advisory board, was instrumental in the forming of the organization. After Jane Lloyd passed away in 2005 after an eight-year battle with cancer, the family asked Tedder to help start the foundation. “I was struggling myself with some loss,” said Tedder. “You know, you get in that spot, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Someone once said to me, ‘Grief is just love with no place to go.’ I was absolutely thrilled to be asked and thrilled to jump into a mission that was so meaningful for the community.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Getting to know our green neighbors

Cover of "The Light Eaters" by Zoe Schlanger.

Provided

This installment of The Ungardener was to be about soil health but I will save that topic as I am compelled to tell you about a book I finished exactly three minutes before writing this sentence. It is called “The Light Eaters.” Written by Zoe Schlanger, a journalist by background, the book relays both the cutting edge of plant science and the outdated norms that surround this science. I promise that, in reading this book, you will be fascinated by what scientists are discovering about plants which extends far beyond the notions of plant communication and commerce — the wood wide web — that soaked into our consciousnesses several years ago. You might even find, as I did, some evidence for the empathetic, heart-expanding sentiment one feels in nature.

A staff writer for the Atlantic who left her full-time job to write this book, Schlanger has travelled around the world to bring us stories from scientists and researchers that evidence sophisticated plant behavior. These findings suggest a kind of plant ‘agency’ and perhaps even a consciousness; controversial notions that some in the scientific community have not been willing or able to distill into the prevailing human-centric conceptions of intelligence.

Keep ReadingShow less