Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thursday's Retreat Heads Over the Ridge

This glistening Thursday shown with turquoise blue skies and warm sunshine. After our mornin’ yoga and a savory breakfast, we bustle, getting ready for our hike. We’d put of this hike to Thursday, waiting for more perfect weather – and today was just that!

By 10am we were and trekking over the ridge, dropping down into the lovely valley with Duck Lake resting in the palm of granite and green. After poking through the fascinating crumbling cabins of yester-year (great aged wood!) we weave through my beloved aspens groves. I just adore this area. The pristine surroundings, the sparkling lake, the sensual undulating granite!! Just to the left of Duck Lake are these waves of rock. We crawl like ants, poking and prodding from different vantage points in response to an exercise Jean has assigned us. Our aim was to simplify and then, later when we had time to peruse the quick sketches - - take one of our images to full color. Here's my completed page.
By now, it was lunch time and we find cozy dining upon rounded rocks to relish the elegant lunch our Izzy had packed and carried in pack, our “Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Wraps with Romesco Dip, Apple and Chocolate Chip & Cocoa Nib Cookie and a homemade Protein Bar too”. Lovely, eh? And so sophisticated for a back-packed lunch!

Following lunch we proceed with one word exercise and then launch into some free time to start sketching. We love counting the catfish skittering below us in the shallow end but, also begin counting the plumpness of the cumulus clouds beginning to multiply over the ridge. To be wise and avoid being caught in any possible rain storm, we gather ourselves up and braid our way back up to ridge, homeward. It still allowed us silly time, like digging mushrooms (Izzy is a whizz at this!) and also great at being “a tree among trees”.

Once back to the cabins, we relax and refresh, ready for one more creative endeavor: Stamp Making. Subject suggested was something that depicts/epitomizes who “you” are. Here’s Kitty deep in the process and one result.

Our evening was not a let down compared to the already dynamite day … because it was our Finale’ Farewell Dinner. Izzy reached her peak of presentation and flavors and we playfully dished up "Roast Salmon with Israeli Whole Wheat Pearl Cous Cous and Summer Ratatouille (stewed Kale, Chard, Chickpeas and Squash)” and desserted with “Green Cardamom Flan”. She’d truly outdone herself and we fancied every moment of it!

Just another day in “Journaling Retreat” heaven and no relief in sight!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tuesday at the Women's Journaling Alpine Retreat

Our Tuesday morn was chilly but with a whisper of warm sun hovering. Our yoga rocks were still too wet for our mornin' yoga by the lake, but following our hearty breakfast (Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry Greek Yogurt with House-made Coconut Granola) we were anxious for the day.

We moved into our creative time over at the Sequoia Cabin, playfully. I've discovered this fascinating material, Paperclay, which I've started using in my journals. But this morn we were individually sculpting personal amulets expressing a private yearning. Here's mine without it's sealing layer and then, coat of dark brown to bring out an aged appearance.

Next on the agenda was Jean leading a Contour/Intuition Process. We hiked down to a comfy picnic table near the lakes edge to add nature to our process.

My experience with this process was fascinating. Between closed eyes for meditiation, where I became keenly aware of smells, sounds and air movement, I'd ink in my contour drawing of first, this small tortured tree. As my process deepened I moved into the background and finally, came in touch with the energy of many Miwok Indians (known to live in summer in this mountainous area). To illustrate the ethereal quality of the Indian spirits, I kept their edges soft, transparent. I love this method of interpretation and many of the participants had differing experiences.
After the lunch break, where we feasted upon Chef Izzy's Vegan Minestrone & Lentil Stew, we return to an exercise coming from inside out. Creating an animal mandala also from a very personal space gifted me with (of all things) a tomato worm. With some resistance I sketched in my chubby green worm ~ the magical gift came after I was home and a friend suggested I look up what a tomato worm turns into. There I was introduced to a hawk moth ~ and they are lovely along with being one of three species that hovers like hummingbirds. NOW I began to see a deeper meaning to my mandala and created this loose, floating hawk moth to hover above my mandala.

Our final afternoon project was a fun and colorful writing process. Again, I'm intrigued by the diversity and imagination of each beautiful individual.
As the shadows grow long, we all traverse the Lake Alpine grounds, to the "dining cabin" and we are not disappointed. Izzy has crafted two meal options, one for the vegan/vegetarian, Vegan Chili (to die for, by the way!) or more for more conventional tastes, Pork Meatballs, both accompanied by the Spicy Jalapeno Cornbread with Lime Compound Butter.

What a savory day, one that gave us new media to play with and inner revelations to ponder. Slumber was easy, deep with the crisp air!