I am fortunate to be part of a wonderful creative community on Facebook, and every so often we find a way to get together. Two of our members brainstormed a creative retreat at the Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, NY. They reserved a lodge for the weekend with shared bedrooms and a large central gathering room, perfect for our purpose. Our friends set up tables and provided supplies and inspiration for everything from watercolor, to card making, to sketching, to writing, to photographic hikes on the gorgeous trails that are part of this lovely place. It was a wonderful three days with lots of catching up and laughter and oodles of creative spirit.
I was offered a chance to stay in the pet friendly room, Barnabas 1, which was a bit removed from the main lodge, but it allowed me to bring my dog Tess. Everyone wanted to meet her, or renew their acquaintance. Tess loved all the attention and walks that comprised her weekend and I enjoyed seeing her interact with everyone and how much they loved having her there. She was (mostly) on her best behavior!
It was past midnight when I went to the room that first night, so I had no idea what treasures waited for me just outside the door. In the morning, I looked out the bathroom window to see a small pond with a fountain, surrounded by brush. There were two fawns feeding in the mist, and as they meandered along, I saw horses grazing up in the pasture. A sense of peace enveloped me. As Tess and I walked outside, I found myself looking up at some of the biggest willow trees I had ever seen. There were two on each side of the stone gate and others nearby providing majestic beauty as their long fronds gently moved in the morning breezes.
I stood under one looking up, up, and yet further up, completely in awe. There was just something regal and wonderful about them and I wanted everyone to share the experience. But I think this was just for me as I couldn’t convince the others to come and see them! And they are in my mind as I picture this lovely landscape, beckoning me to come and sit in their shade for just a while.
Tess and I walked around the pond each morning, stopping so I could take photos.She is used to this and is mostly patient with the idea. I haven’t taken many this summer; it has been so hot and humid, and places we walk are familiar enough that I needed fresh inspiration. There was plenty to be had here.
The large building is the library – it is next to the Barnabas lodge and has a wonderful wraparound deck on the outside. The willow tree on the far side of the pond is not as tall as the ones near the gate, but is certainly wide! And the faithful Great Pyrenees barked a gentle warning with wagging tail, that we should not get too near the goats under his care.
We saw a bird flying to the opposite side of the pond to us, that I at first thought was a juvenile heron. My friend Deb, who is an avid bird watcher said it was a green heron. He kept his distance, but I managed to get at least one shot of him sitting on the fence around the dock.
There is a covered picnic area that beckoned us into its cool interior. Tess hopped up on the wall, agile girl that she is, and waited for me to take yet more photos. Or perhaps she was posing just for her own portrait!
The fountain sparkled in the sunlight as the water droplets danced, and we wandered back to our room, refreshed and ready for the day ahead.