March 21, 2011

A week of sunshine


For the third year in a row, I flew south during March for a week-long retreat to a place where the soil is red, the wildflowers are already in bloom, and the sun is warm enough to justify stripping down to shorts and a t-shirt.

I didn’t read the newspaper, talk on the phone, use the internet, watch a television, or listen to a radio. For a whole week, I stopped worrying about what was happening in other parts of the world.

I worked on my manuscript, revising and rewriting parts that needed work. I wrote in my journal. I had time to meditate, to think, to write, to sit still. Silence is observed at the retreat house, so no one talked to me or interrupted my train of thought.

The only real contact I had with other human beings was the time I spent early in the week with a friend and his two daughters. We spent that time outside, walking along a river, eating lunch in the sun, and climbing a cool old tree that was covered with moss and (I realized much too late) old poison ivy vines. I couldn’t even complain about the light poison ivy rash that covered my arms by midweek: it felt like summer.

Since my yard at home was still snow-covered, I could not resist the sun-warmed flagstones around the fountain at the retreat house. Every day after lunch, I stretched out on them, my head on my fleece, to take a nap and absorb the heat. Down at the river bank, snakes had the same idea, and I saw three of them, each sliding away at the vibrations from my footsteps. As I walked along the paths, a wind rose, stirring the blossoms in the trees overhead, and petals fell into my hair.

Time for writing


Anonymous said...

Lovely. Is that you in the photo?


jo(e) said...

No, it's a photo I took of one of the other retreatants. She looked so peaceful sitting there that I couldn't resist.

Kris Peleg said...

I always love hearing about the retreat place since it reminds me of my childhood treks there to visit an uncle.

Cathy said...

So glad the weather offered you a reprieve from the winter at home. You were 250 miles away from me, but still in the same state. So close, yet so far.

Kyla said...

You must have been closer to my part of the country than yours! It us definitely early summer here now!