I spent the weekend in Sewanee Tennessee at a women's retreat. It was a wonderful weekend, filled with warmth and fun, and I hope it is something that we will do again.
The first night, however, I couldn't sleep, and arose in the wee hours to lie on the grass and watch meteors. I did see some, and then I returned to my room just in time for the predawn light show:
There are no photos in this story of the women who attended, as I asked no one's permission, and although I did manage to take one good photo of a couple of friends, which I have shared, I still tend to be better at taking photos of things. I'm not about to suss that out: I value people and time spent with people more, and I don't care about things all that much, but I take pictures of things and places rather than people. People are always in my heart anyway and when I am with them, somehow, taking photos is the last thing on my mind. Therefore I am grateful, eternally, for friends who remember to take photos.
One afternoon we walked around the campus of the University of the South.
We visited the chapel, and walked to a smaller chapel, at the school of Theology, but I didn't manage to take any photos there, just photos along the walk.
Oops. I did take a photo while I was in the chapel at the school of theology, but it was not of the chapel. I was looking through the window at a house seen through the trees. The chapel was lovely, but the view of the house, right next door and yet both visible and hidden, intrigued me. I am continually drawn to those, framed and isolated images of life through windows, as if I am looking at reality while at the same time one step removed. The effect is somehow simultaneously magical and mundane, reminding me of the fragile balance of our lives, and the treasure of it as well.
That magical view of the house through the trees somehow primed me for a magical evening as well. We attended a wonderful and peaceful sung evening prayer service at the small convent of St. Mary's and were offered a tour as well. Both the larger area where we stayed as a group, and the convent itself were beautifully calm and peaceful, and I can see myself returning to the convent for a private retreat, enjoying the peaceful setting and the stunning views. The evening ended later, with our own prayerful ritual of lights in the darkness.
I'm still thinking about those weekend conversations, the women with whom I had an opportunity to share moments of grace and build friendship, even more that sense that we could all join arm in arm and heal the world.