Saturday, May 5, 2012

Back Home Again

We gather in the large lobby to listen to music

I am home from Wildacres, the wonderful retreat just off the Parkway near Little Switzerland. We gathered in the lobby each evening for readings and for music by some of the guys in the area. Even though being in a room with 80 people, most wearing some kind of chemical fragrance, dryer sheet toxins, perfumes and colognes, I was able to stay well most of the time. Thanks to a charcoal filter inside a mask I did not loose my voice before reading a couple of poems last night. I was thrilled at the reaction to my poems. 

Artist, Carole at Wildacres
The best part of going to Wildacres is seeing special people I met there three years ago. I’ll never forget that Fall Gathering, September after Barry died in July of 2009. I had never driven that far alone and never to go to a place where I did not know anyone.
Somehow, I knew this was what I needed to do. The first person I met was a lovely petite woman named Marsha. She saw me sitting in the lobby and came over to me. Little did I know that Marsha was a nurse and she was there with her darling mother, Nettie, and that Nettie had just lost her husband of many years. Marsha now says, she saw something in my face and felt she needed to come and take care of me. That's the kindness of good nurses, angels of mercy wherever they may be. Marsha happened to be the sister of Mike, the director of Wildacres, and their whole family was there in the lobby. Before I knew it, Marsha had brought me right into their family gathering. I met them all, right down to the giant standard poodle who I suspect really owns the whole place.

That week in 2009 I had time to reflect on who I was without Barry, to understand my choices and where I wanted to go with my life. I decided to open Writers Circle. Others played a part in my decisions, but I left Wildacres a changed person. It still took work, and I have had ups and downs, but I continued to go to this lovely retreat as often as I could. 

We have kept in touch through these years while Nettie mourned her husband, Marsha and the family mourned their father and I mourned my Barry. Perhaps it was the mutual loss we all shared at that moment that drew us together. Three years later we sat and visited and caught up on life. Marsha has retired after twenty plus years of nursing, and now she and her husband travel around in their RV seeing this beautiful country. 
Marsha is a very special woman, and I love her as a special friend. I found out that she reads my blogs. That makes her even more special.

Virginia from Clay County

When I turn into the drive at the Wildacres sign and slowly cruise up to the main buildings, a large weight lifts off my shoulders. I take several deep breaths and feel stress drift away into the cool high mountain air.

It was Wednesday before I saw some of my friends. I have to admit that I slept almost all day the first day and part of the second day. After a good rest, I was back to myself, writing and re-writing, blogging and journaling. 

 At dinner I see those lovely smiles of recognition, and choruses of “Glenda, I’m so glad you’re here. I hoped you’d be here this year.” And I know they are genuine expressions of caring. It is like a family reunion with cousins you only see once or twice a year.

Some of those I always look forward to seeing are Carole W. , a wonderful artist, who is so funny and caring, and my own neighbor from Clay County, Virginia, who seems to be the happiest person on earth. 

Some of the guests love to party at the end of the day. While I don’t participate in the late night parties, I enjoy the one on one chats with the artists. Potters, quilters, painters who work in various mediums, jewelry makers and many musicians get away from all responsibilities for a week of just plain joy and fellowship with like-minded people. No classes during the Gathering. We all work on our own, doing our particular art. 

I don’t know the dates for the Fall Gathering. I hope it works out for me to go, but if not, I’ll plan for next Spring.


Paula said...

Glenda, that sounds like a wonderful place. Maybe some day I'll visit there myself. I'm glad you had such a good time!

Gay Moring said...

Glenda, I'm so glad you found Wildacres. It does seem to renew your spirit somehow and I hope you will be able to go for many more years.

Vicki Lane said...

Wildacres is an amazing place. I taught in the Writing workshop last summer and am thrilled to be going back this July!