March 09, 2006

On retreat

Anyone who has been reading my blog for more than a year is probably starting to get this sense of dejavu. Because yes, I do the same things in the same way in the same places every year. And anyone who read my blog last March knows that one of my yearly March rituals is a trip to the monastery.

It’s a Benedictine monastery, a cluster of buildings that includes an old stone farmhouse where we will gather with other guests for meals, an octagonal chapel where the monks meet for prayer seven times each day, a big barn full of hay and sheep, and several separate little guest cottages, including the one where Monking Friend and I will stay. The monastery is high in the hills, with a splendid view of sheep pastures and woods.

It is still winter in this part of the country, and the sheep pastures will be drifted in white. I’ll build a fire in the guest cottage, and pull the comfy chair up to the big window that faces south, and take a nap in the sun. The most wonderful part of being at the monastery is the relaxation of doing nothing in particular. I might go for a hike with Brother Beekeeper, or wander through the sheep barns, or take a walk with Monking Friend. I might take some pictures with my digital camera. I might write in my journal or read a book. I might visit the bookstore that smells of beeswax candles. I might walk into the chapel, breathing in the musty smell of incense, and climb down the long stone staircase to the crypt, a room lit by the glow of hundreds of votive candles. I will have five days to myself, to do whatever I feel like doing at that particular moment. I can pray or read or meditate. I can sit in the comfy chair for hours and watch snow fall.

I will think of you, my blogging friends, during these quiet hours of peace.

25 comments:

Terminaldegree said...

Have a wonderful time!

ccw said...

Hope you have a wonderful time!

Yankee T said...

No wonder you're so cool with your kids-you take time for yourself. Someday, I'm going to do that, too. When I grow up. Have a peaceful time.

Deb said...

This sounds just...delicious! Enjoy!

Leslee said...

Safe journey, friend.

Sue said...

Have a great retreat jo(e)!

Rana said...

We'll think of you, too. Have a good retreat!

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Have a good, blessed and safe journey, and I'm eagerly anticipating your writing post-monastery. (Your post last year about the monastery was the first one I ever read on your blog, and it's what got me hooked.)

Friday Mom said...

Have a great retreat, Jo(e).

Poor Mad Peter said...

Wow. We lived an hour away from St Peter's Abbey (Benedictine) in Saskatchewan for 4 years, and on moving to northwestern ontario, have missed the peaceful presence of an accessible monastery for retreat.

I confess that my prayers for a blessed retreat for you are laced somewhat with envy at this point.

Dr.K said...

Much peace to you--you deserve it.

halloweenlover said...

Have a wonderfully peaceful time, Jo(e). In high school, I participated in a 3 day silent retreat at a monastery. The first two days were incredibly hard, but lovely at the same time. I took naps, looked out the window at the changing sunlight, walked in the gardens, thought about my life and my future. Everyone should do it at least once.

HeyJules said...

And here I was all excited because I was taking ONE DAY at a prayer room in my church...

Have a wonderfully reflective time. May God use the peace and quiet to renew your wonderful soul.

nancy said...

I feel relaxed just reading this.

Aaaaaaaaah.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Another former Saskatchewanian comments here! That's exciting to me.

J. said...

Have a safe and peaceful trip, jo(e).

jayfish said...

have a great time!

Mona Buonanotte said...

I live vicariously through you, so please give detail when you return!

Have a great time!

Teri said...

I think last year's monastery post might have been the first I ever commented on here.

Have a wonderful, peaceful time.

undine said...

Has it really been a year since you wrote about the retreat? Have a peaceful and reflective time.

Bitty said...

We will think of you, our blogging friend, during your quiet hours of peace.

Steph said...

Ahhh, Benedictines have such beautiful and peaceful places, don't they? And their hospitality?!?!?

I mean, not like I'm biased or anything .....

Hope it was wonderful!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Your plan sounds wonderful -- I'm more than a little envious... I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Marie said...

Sounds just lovely!!

Sergei C. said...

I can't believe it has been a year already. What the heck have I been doing with my life??!