Thursday, October 21, 2010

SAFE HAVEN IN THE HIGH MOUNTAINS


This is my fourth time to come to this beautiful mountain northeast of Asheville and near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wildacres Retreat has become my haven to rest and work in complete solitude when I want to, or I can mix with the other creative people who attend the Gathering each year. I see some of the same faces I saw the first time I came: Carol, Kathleen, Mickey, Junebug, Tucker, Chuck, Skip, Marsha and Nettie. That was just a few months after I lost my best friend and life-long love, Barry. Some people say my decision to come here, alone, not knowing anyone at all, was a brave thing to do so soon after my loss. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made since I became the lone decision maker in my life.

I am not taking any classes. No classes are offered this week. I have no pressure to do anything except what I feel like doing at the time. This visit has been strangely opposite of the others. I came here with acute bronchitis, taking antibiotics plus prednisone. I spent the first three days in my sparsely furnished but comfortable room on the first floor of the north lodge, sleeping mostly, healing and writing.

No one bothered me and I was sure no one missed me, but today when I went to lunch for the first time, Mike, the Resident Manager of Wildacres, stood at the bottom of the stairs and said, “Glenda, I was wondering if you were still here. We haven’t seen much of you.”
He is a nice man with a wonderful family, and he is the (young) grandfather of beautiful twin boys.

The staff at Wildacres accommodates my needs for cleaning my room with no harsh chemical cleaners. This time I am leaving them with a natural cleanser recipe, and I hope they will use it throughout the lodges, not just when I come. Mike places emphasis on recycling and using less energy. I hope he will understand the “greenness” of using safe cleaning supplies. Besides, vinegar, water and Borax are much cheaper than all the strong mixes in those bottles bought at the store. I know what the cleaning staff uses because the laundry room is on my hall, and the smell from that room is overpowering for me, the canary, while others hardly notice it, I suppose.

I sleep with the windows open, and the wind blows through the trees all night, humming to me like a mother's lullaby. Fall is the best time here on this mountain. On the drive up, I open my car windows and turn off the music the minute I turn off the gravel road on to the paved drive that leads to the retreat. I am awed at the silence and I am eager to settle in with my writing, my books, and my special belongings I always bring with me that make me even more comfortable.

In my next post, I’ll tell you about a writer I met this week. Janice Holly Booth has a book coming out in February from National Geographic.

1 comment:

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Glenda, this sounds like a fabulous place. Enjoy yourself. You deserve it.
Sam