The Fog of Peace
June 05, 2011
INTENSE ACTIVITY SOUNDS FROM UNDER A TREE
Wednesday, while rushing from Hartford to an assignment east of the river, I drive past Grace Lutheran Church where a small group of women are praying under a tree.
Several miles later, after crossing the Connecticut river on route 84, adjustments to delay the impending assignment are made and I turn the car around.
The imprint left by seeing the prayer circle is too strong.
It is a warm day, my car's air conditioning is on. After returning to the scene at the church, I park the car and pull a camera from the back seat.
A layer of condensation has blanketed the front element of the camera's lens.
An untucked shirt tail is applied. The lens is cleared.
A sign I pass while walking to the prayer circle announces it will be ending in a few minutes.
Feeling obtrusive, but wanting to document this scene, I approach the women in the circle and kneel to compose a photograph.
Eye contact is made with Jacqueline Funches (far right). Non-verbally, she acknowledges my presence, my camera, and she goes back to praying.
The camera comes up, I look through its viewfinder and ugh, the day's humidity is refogging the still cold glass of the lens.
Despite this visual barrier, and not wanting to miss a photograph, I instinctively press the shutter release button. One frame is made.
A shirt-tail is then re-applied to clear the condensation.
With the lens clear again, over the next few minutes I am able to make a few additional frames.
Pastor Eva Steege concludes the group's prayer. "We have a visitor," says Louisa Barton-Duguay (second from right) looking in my direction.
And the circle is broken.
We introduce ourselves, notes are made.
Barton-Duguay says, "Praying with others is like the difference between eating dinner alone and eating dinner with friends. They both nourish..." and her voice drops off.
"The dream," says Pastor Steege, "Is that the circle will expand."
NEW LONDON TWO DAYS LATER.
Under the trees of the Coast Guard Academy, a 19-gun salute announces U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.
He is attending the academy's change-of-command ceremony in which Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz will become the first woman to hold the position of superintendent of the academy. A Coast Guard press release states that the transition of power will make Stosz, "the first woman to hold this position of any of the five service academies."
Also announced is that the class of 2015, coming in this June, is "projected to be the most diverse class in the history of the institution."
33% of the prospective students being offered appointments to the academy are from minority groups. 32% are women.