Each year at this time, we head for the wilds of Far Western Virginia and our annual church retreat, some of the housing for which is depicted herein (which used to be pretty chilly digs but which now offers baseboard heaters for the 21st century camper).
It’s a weekend that is difficult to describe: certainly there is plenty of serious discussion, reflection, prayer, and singing; but interwoven are hiking, yoga, dancing, hay rides, sessions of watercolor painting and dream work, and time for the more lengthy, intimate conversations for which the Sunday coffee hour is too brief.
The children play community-building games and create spirited art objects that enliven the setting of our closing liturgy. For our daughter’s Middle School group, this meant building and joyously spray-painting enormous colorful internally-illuminated free-standing totems that would be perfectly comfortable on the floor of the Whitney.
Every single year, departure for home is poignant. I post this sketch-memory as a token of gratitude.