My injured knee is healing slowly, far too slowly for someone as impatient as I am. By the middle of this week, I came to the realization that despite all the wonderful snow we've gotten this week, I am not going to be able to snowboard this weekend. Even though I am tempted, it just doesn't make sense to go back to the slopes until the ligament and cartilage are fully healed. To be honest, it's not so much that I fear the physical pain, it's that if something happened to make the injury worse, I just couldn't stand to hear all the people in my life saying, "I told you so."
February here in Snowstorm Region is a long month of snow and ice, weather so fierce that it often makes the front page of the newspaper. It's a month of introspection and melancholy moods. I decided that if I couldn't combat the February blues with fresh winter air and the adrenaline of carving down a mountain slope, I would try the next best remedy: a retreat.
So I am off for a few days to one of my favorite places: a Benedictine monastery. It's a cluster of buildings – a chapel, some guesthouses, and the barns of a working sheep farm – set high in the hills. The winter wind rushing across the hills will be fierce, I imagine, and the sheep pastures buried in drifts of snow, but I'll be warm inside by the fire in the guest house, or at my spot in the chapel that smells of incense and candle wax. I'll have to time to read, to pray, to think, to heal.