This was the view outside the retreat house we stayed in this past weekend. It was so beautiful up at Sebago Lake in Maine. The weather was perfect, with temperatures around the 60s in the day, and 40s at night. There was light rain a couple of times, but it wasn't troublesome at all. The only time I felt it, rather than seeing its results, was when I walked the labyrinth, and it was a mere sprinkle that fell as I slowly trod the path. The company of the women who attended was just lovely, and I felt not the least bit uncomfortable. The whole weekend was just a perfect time to refresh, recharge, and be ready to move on.
We arrived almost (but not quite) late for dinner on Friday evening, and hurried in to gnosh on incomprehensibly delicious lasagna, fresh and crispy salad with all the fixings, and still-warm home made apple crisp. I ate reasonably the entire weekend, even though I was much more active than at home and didn't have to cook or clean. I had thought I would gorge myself, but everything was so yummy that I felt I should just savor it in moderate doses. I didn't feel a need to snack, either, which I am amazed at.
The view off the back porch of the retreat house was stunning. Early on Saturday morning (after breakfast but before the main meetings and such), I decided to go for a solitary walk along the lake. The clouds were low in the sky, and the water choppy, but it was warm enough, and dry, and light through the overcast conditions. I sat on a bench for a half hour or so, and worked on some poetry that's been stuck in my head for a while. It was peaceful there, and quiet, with no sound from the main house, no voices, no roads...
I found the words coming more easily than they have in ages. I had all my seminary homework completed, and knew I had a full week before the next class and the homework was due. As you can see in the picture, I came ready with notebook, coffee cup, and jacket. The coffee was well-enjoyed, but the coat just got sat on because the wood bench was a bit damp from early morning rain.
I will admit, I was a bit surprised at just how "pagan" the retreat was. I expected more of a mix, I suppose, but it seems that Unitarian Universalist has become almost synonymous with pagan, of late. I'm not sure if I'm happy, sad, or disturbed by that thought. Don't get me wrong - the rituals and singing and workshops were wonderful. I even had a chance to do a bit of a tarot lesson with a crowd of ladies who wanted to learn some basics. It's just that I am so much seeking balance now, moreso than ever before in my life. "Nothing but Goddess" just isn't enough anymore; there needs to be a masculine counterpart to balance her.
All of this was just flitting through my very busy mind, of course. We had a costume party, which was fun, and a bit of a talent show. I swallowed my nerves and read four of my favorite poems for the group. I was pleasantly surprised by the reception - several women came over to me later and discussed how much they liked my poetry, and how they would like to hear more. One of the poems I read was Winter Symphony, which is one that I spent a lot of time writing, but often doesn't receive very good reviews. It really piqued interest of many of the women, which made me feel quite happy inside. I was proud of myself just for getting through the reading - preaching at a pulpit is WAY easier than reading poetry at an informal gathering of peers. LOL!