Every fall, I travel to the mountains with a group of women friends for a weekend retreat. It's a tradition. We bring warm clothes and hiking boots, as well as books and journals. Weaving Woman brings her loom; Quilt Artist brings an art project. I'm the firekeeper, and I carry in armloads of firewood while my friends make big pots of delicious soups and stews. We normally spend hours by the fire each night, talking, sometimes dancing, always eating.
This year, Signing Woman — whose generous family owns the beautiful old camp where we stay — moved the weekend from October into September because she's going to a wedding on our usual weekend. The weather was unseasonably warm, and that meant that we got, for the first time, to see this great camp in summer weather, the season that it was clearly built for.
Instead of huddling inside by the fire, we threw open all the windows, letting the breezes flow through. We sat out on the dock. We swam to the raft and soaked in the water that had been softened by months of summer sun. Makes Bread and I tried out the paddleboards: it turns out that a paddleboard isn't that different than a canoe, except you stand up instead of sit. Best of all, the camp has a little sunfish sailboat. I took the sunfish out for sail on Saturday, and then again on Sunday. Zooming along under wind power, using my body to shift the boat into the right position, made me remember just how much I love sailing.
By the end of the weekend, we were all as relaxed as a bunch of kids on summer vacation. The tough part was remembering that we had to pack up and go back to work on Monday.