We climbed a mountain and got naked at the summit. We waded through a stream and splashed in a waterfall. We cooked together and ate meals by candlelight and sat at night by a crackling fire. We played a ridiculous game called Washers that led to so many jokes that we were rolling about on the ground with laughter. We took a night time walk that led us through the darkest of places.
We gave each other massages and reiki. We meditated and wrote in our journals. We talked. We listened to music. We took photos. We went paddling in the canoe. We stripped off our clothes and swam in the chilly lake. We teased each other and made fun of each other and laughed at our faults and weaknesses. We saw a red-necked grebe and the scat of a large bear. We watched the sunrise together. We walked a labyrinth. We cried and laughed and hugged each other.
It's wonderful to spend four days with close friends who love each other enough to be vulnerable and honest with each other, who know how to be supportive of each other, but also give each other space. As the long weekend came to an end, we carried on the tradition of Signing Woman's family, singing a goodbye song that has as its refrain, "Be always kind and true." We always laugh as we sing the song, because it's a children's Sunday school song, but as we were driving home, Quilt Artist said to me, seriously, "You know, a retreat like that does make me want to be a better person."
My friend Beautiful Hair taking a quiet moment to drink her morning tea.