Monday, June 11, 2007

Close to Home

Well, I am now officially petitioning my local lodge - or I will be as soon as I get my references off to the Secretary.

I was encouraged to hear that membership attrition seems to be stabilizing, and that there are a couple of members in their early twenties, as well as an increasing number in their 30's. We Gen-Xers must be looking for something, eh?

I was equally encouraged to see that the lodge, which occupies a former post office building from the early 1900s, is well-maintained. The lodge room itself is wonderful, and it's clear that much pride is taken in its upkeep. The utilitarian areas of the lodge, as one might expect, feel more or less like every church or town hall basement I've ever been in; oft-used but not lived in, a little bit dusty and musty but comfortable and familiar nonetheless.

I obviously felt enough of the passion I alluded to earlier that I decided to go ahead and submit an application without visiting the other lodge I was considering. Close by is really better; the last thing I need is to wind up driving all the time again, and it's high time I got to know some folks in my backyard, not 3 or 4 towns removed. Assuming I eventually become a Master Mason, I will be able to visit other lodges around the region anyway, which seems to be a common practice hereabout.

It's a good thing I got this bee in my bonnet when I did, because after meeting this week the lodge is breaking for July and August (apparently a common thing in New England.) My petition will be read at the meeting this week, and assuming nobody drops a black ball I assume the investigative committee will be formed either by the end of the month, or first thing in September. (Interesting-- I would have expected the vote to happen after the investigative committee completes its findings and that indeed seems to be the case in other accounts I've read.)

I will be asking a few more questions about the Fellowcraft and Master degree work - it sounds like the typical progression at this lodge is one degree per meeting; so assuming I become an Entered Apprentice in September, by November I would be a Master Mason. I'm wondering if the one-month period is arbitrary (is the work somewhat perfunctory?) or if that's just how long it takes most people. (Update: I just found a description of the process by a New Hampshire Mason that describes a similar one-two-three progression, but goes into a little more detail about the requirements... I guess as long as you can memorize the work within that one month period, you're good.)

So now the waiting begins! It will be an interesting two or three months of further contemplation, and plenty of time to do further reading and research. Having set first foot on this path, hopefully this will cease to be the huge distraction it has been over the last week or so.

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