I just came from a meeting of the Wimawhala Encampment, which is a lodge that I joined last winter because it is dying. There are six of us, and each is an officer. We call ourselves patriarchs, and our emblem is a nomadic tent. Instead of a gavel, our “chief patriarch” calls for order with the top of a walking staff. Our other officers are a treasurer, a scribe, a high priest, and two wardens. I am the junior warden, which means that I will assume the role of chief patriarch in two years. I am also the junior warder in my Masonic Lodge, so I’m expected to move into the worshipful master’s station there in two years.
There are two ways in which I look at my lodges. One is to think that much of what we do (like using the top of a staff as a gavel) is just too silly for words. The other is to ponder our symbolism (the Encampment’s tent stands for safety and hospitality) and to listen to the words we say, and to think that lodges are awfully sweet. Ironically, if lodges were flourishing, I probably wouldn’t fit in.