Today is one of those lazy recovery days. My mind is ready to be productive but my body does not agree. I water the garden, walk up the hill and answer emails, as my brain sends waves of images over my activity like a blanket, images of rest and bed and closing my eyes, until all I can do is relent. I’m worn out from having too much pleasure, is that possible?
I spent Saturday at Hidden Lake for our Salmon Street writing retreat, an artistic estate made wholly ours without interruption. The writing was sweet as ever and the women old and trusted friends, but it is the memory of the food that lingers, oh the food. Hidden Lake is near Estacada and hosted by Judith and Lauri, whose intentions and cuisine can only be described as divinely inspired.
Dessert last night was homemade ice cream from mint grown in the serenity of their rural forest. It was topped with a warm chocolate sauce flavored to perfection. That followed our main course of local salmon, garden corn, green beans, vibrant hues of salad, warm olive bread and a small vat of honey still dripping from the hive. We ate outside like Goddesses, soaking the beauty of the place fully into our senses. After the meal, women slipped without suits into cool fresh water, while others read, napped or paddled the kayak past cattails and the constant buzz and weave of hummingbirds.
As the day yawned to an end we came inside to share writing we had fashioned elsewhere. We stretched out in chairs, and on the plush patterned carpet, placing pillows under our heads like children eager for bedtime stories. The tales were fresh, full of surprise, enchantment and intimacy, each woman offering a piece of her heart and imagination, speaking it out gently and bravely like the gift that it was. Candles flickered as the night grew long, cats pushed against the screen door, and a gentle dust of sleep moved across our skin.
I left at eleven, wanting to spend the night at home, while others slept outside on covered porches, upstairs in sheets of white cotton, or perched on the hill in small individual tents. Our time together filled us up and sent us home with new words, grateful bellies and more memories to support our mutual love of the craft, and the magic we each gleaned from transporting our inner world into word, form and offering.