With the exception of this past year (due to the pandemic), fellow members of one of my monthly writing groups gather for an annual weekend retreat at a rented home on the coast. Our group of eight women has been doing this for several years, most often over Super Bowl weekends. Watching football is not on our agenda. For two days and three nights, we celebrate our friendship and nourish our spirits with hearty meals, good wine, brisk walks in the ocean breeze and our stories, shared on and off the page.
Making memories, we’ve chased waves, burnt waffles, found (and dissected) owl pellets, seen a bobcat, played games, created collages, relaxed in hot tubs, lounged around in our pajamas, listened to the sound of the foghorn, and written together. We have a musician among us who brings her guitar, and we sing along or just enjoy her beautiful voice. I remember the time she brought her cello and let all of us try it.
One of our writing sisters moved out of the country a few years ago to be closer to her children and now grandchildren but thankfully, she’s able to join us virtually. It’s always so good to see her smile and hear her voice.
This is typically the time of year we begin our retreat planning: deciding which home to rent (must have a dining table large enough to seat all of us!), choosing which meal we’d each like to prepare (brunch or dinner) and making carpool arrangements.
Only four of us were able to meet over Zoom this month and the question of our retreat came up. I offered to send a message to our group to see if we felt comfortable enough to make a reservation for a weekend in March, a little later than usual.
I had just hit the “send” button when news about the new Omicron virus variant from South Africa emerged.
It’s a bit like a dance step, isn’t it? Two steps forward, one back. Last year at this time, we couldn’t even consider the possibility. This year, looking ahead feels a little more hopeful.