I just returned from an amazing week of friendship, laughter, love and creativity. It all began in Charlotte, NC, at the airport, where my good friend Sharon and I met and continued on to Asheville together. It was a warm, sunny day and very windy. We never expected that the next day would be cold and blustery with snow showers dampening the streets of Black Mountain. There, we spent three days exploring and spending time with my daughter and her family, including one special day alone with Lisa herself. I was so happy to see them all and shed a few tears as we drove away on Thursday towards our next destination.
I don’t get to see this part of my family more than 3 or 4 times a year so each visit is a special time as we all get re-aquainted. I noticed that 10-year-old grand-daughter Zoe, is growing taller and more beautiful and that grandson Noah’s sense of humor and imagination is blossoming like the wild Rhododendrons that soon will color those smokey blue mountains in lovely shades of pink. Both children told us their very own versions of how the world was created which cracked us up and gave us pause as to how wise these young ones are. I wish I had recorded it. These days details slip so easily from my mind.
I read one of Zoe’s freshly written stories. She is already a wonderful writer, knowing exactly how to capture the reader in the first few lines of her tales dealing with everyday challenges, often speaking in the voice of a cat, dog or horse.
Noah gifted both Sharon and me with beloved toys he gave to us with pure, joyous love. We were both presented with well-worn Matchbox cars, a race car for Sharon, a police car for me. To try to give them back at the end of our stay would have been a deep insult so my gift now rests on a windowsill in my studio that holds other small, precious items people have honored me with.
I’m sure they noticed new wrinkles on my face, my hair turning more gray and the growing forgetfulness that seems to haunt us elders. I remember noticing with sadness and sometimes shock my own mother’s aging when Lisa and Mark were small and thought that one day, they would be experiencing the same feelings as their mom slips into her dotage.
On Thursday we spent 3 hours with my friend, Clara, who I’d spent time talking to on the phone during our 6 month Live Now teleclass. We’d never met in person so it was a delight to finally meet her and I look forward to seeing her often whenever I get to Asheville.
Afterwards we sped up to the Bend of Ivy Lodge near Marshall, where we spent a long weekend with 12 awesome women and the amazing Patti Digh and David Robinson at a retreat based on Patti’s book, Creative is a Verb. She is also the author of Life is a Verb and 37 Days, all favorites of mine. Patti and David were my teachers in the Live Now class mentioned above. Artist Kim Joris, came with a van full of odd pieces of this and that and enticed us into creating works of recycled art from her fabulous collection of findings … old books, jewelry, door nobs, machine parts, etc. Dava nourished us with her sweet and savory vegetarian creations.
The group of women I met were simply spectacular. Ranging in age from twenty- something to seventy-something, we came from different corners of this country with one from Calgary, Canada. We shared our stories, our strengths, our weaknesses. We taught each other what we’ve learned over our lifetimes. There were tears, smiles and lots of laughter. It was one of the best weekends I’ve spent on retreat.
I left feeling I wanted to pack Patti, David, Kim, Dava, along with all of my new friends into my suitcase and whisk them home with me. What a perfect team we’d be: continuously inspired, well nourished and always in a creative frame of mind. But alas, we all have our own lives and families so none chose to come with me. But I have a feeling we’ll see each other again.
I’m home again, with a nasty head cold that blossomed as soon as I walked in the door. I’m happy to be here and celebrating that we have finally sold the home we moved from last June, after its lengthy stay on the market for a bit over a year. The money is in the bank and there is a huge burden lifted from our shoulders!