Poor timing, beautiful scenery.


When last I posted I was leaving for a week-long Creative Retreat with no idea how it would go. Then I came home and the stark contrast between a week on my own and the one that followed in which I was scheduled to the teeth was more than a bit of a blow.


Once I finally dug myself out from under the obligations I had heaped upon myself, I ended up painting a small dragonfly. But wouldn’t you know it? Out for a week with nature at my doorstep and what do I paint? A dragonfly on the city sidewalk.

Which kind of seems to encapsulate how I do most things.

The Retreat was both exactly what I had hoped and not at all what I expected, and I now have a deep-seated appreciation for my desk chair at home. Or, at least, my butt and back certainly do! However, that is just all the more reason to get out into this gorgeousness:

Notes from my Creative Retreat

  • Haring off to spend a week mostly cut off from the world immediately after the US Supreme Court made several thunderous decisions may not have been the best timing ever, as it hijacked a great deal of brain space and did not help with my urges to check my phone every 5 seconds.
  • That’s why it was supposed to be a good thing to have limited cell service for a week.
  • Having my retreat coincide with the first time my daughter stays at home alone overnight–when I can’t check on her–is also monumentally bad timing.
  • It’s fine, I know its fine, she’ll be fine.
  • I now know every nook and cranny at The Abbey that does and does not have cell service.
  • Easiest way to drain a phone battery? Tramp around taking pictures while your phone tries desperately to find service.
  • Walking on flat concrete is NOT the same as walking on even the mildest trails. I can walk twice the time as normal and still not get all my steps in.
  • When the key to your cabin is on a footlong stick, it will not fit comfortably in your pocket when you go walking. Therefore, the only way to keep it on you and keep your hands free is to lodge it in your bra. Because it is so long it will occasionally stab you in the neck, but if you put it in the other way around it will also make a jingling noise like a bell as the key bobs along with you.
  • I am not, nor have I ever been, a nature girl. More like a nature admirer. One who likes to admire from a nice, safe distance.
  • This became abundantly clear when I found my first tick.
  • This became frighteningly clear when sitting on a bench another tick mysteriously appeared ON MY NOTEBOOK. That I had in my hand. It MUST have teleported. There is no other explanation.
  • Apparently when properly started, I also teleport.
  • Since I refused to be shut indoors with a beautiful breeze outside, I bravely returned to my previous bench under the hope that the phrase “lightening never strikes twice” would apply to ticks, though I admit to twitching every time I “felt” something.
  • No, it doesn’t matter that you don’t usually feel a tick.
  • A large portion of my brain for the remainder of the week:
  • I did get distracted by attempting to continue my career as a pornography photographer, however, so my week wasn’t 100% anxiety:
  • In evening entertainment, I am happy to report that young skunks playing under a tree are ADORABLE.
  • Sadly, I could not get close enough to the tree to get good photos. Because ticks.
  • Thinking it over now, since I also didn’t get sprayed, that was probably a good thing.
  • When I went to check the continental breakfast to see if there was anything of interest, I thought it a rather odd spread. However, they did have a container of snack-sized Snickers bars. I immediately took two and decided it should be mandatory for all continental breakfasts to provide mini-Snickers.
  • Then I stumbled across the ACTUAL continental breakfast. In a completely different room. Which explains the oddities. Which means among my many life accomplishments I have now stolen candy from monks.
  • Am I a role model or what?
  • When did I become a lizard? In the middle of the week the lotion I never remember to put on at home suddenly became so important that need to drive 10 miles to pay twice as much as I normally would for half the amount of lotion.
  • It’s possible the lack of chocolate also contributed to that store run.
  • Stabbing yourself in the eye with the procured chocolate isn’t recommended.
  • No, I am still not sure how I managed that.
  • If you remove the constant cacophony of keeping an eye on the clock and making sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing when they are supposed to be doing it, and the meal planning, laundry, dishes, random phone calls, etc., there is SO MUCH MORE TIME in your day.
  • Is this what men who have women to take care of the mental load for them experience nearly all the time?
  • Despite all the anxiety, I managed to get everything I had hoped to get done, done, while still “wasting” quite a lot of time. It’s a miracle of our modern times.
  • I am, however, still finding it hard to take a deep breath. Although that could also be the Deet.
  • Productivity and relaxation are not the same. But having more orderly thoughts, instead of having them whirling about like a cloud of gnats, is a lovely thing. 

It was also, however, incredibly poor timing to go off to an abbey, surrounded by images of Christ, immediately after the overturning of Roe v. Wade since so many people on my social media are using God and Jesus to justify being complete asshats. The bible really comes down to two main themes: Care for each other and don’t judge. Neither of those themes is evident in most of what I am seeing posted. When called on their bullying behavior by others the response usually seems to be “So? The “other side” lost. Why shouldn’t we?” To which my first thought is “The other ‘side’ isn’t claiming to represent God.” I don’t think God would ever revel in someone’s pain. Pettiness and cruelty are human things. Which is one of many reasons I have problems with organized religion.

Also seen on social media is THIS POST. It says far better than I can a lot of what upsets me. I mean, other than that women are going to die from medical reasons like ectopic pregnancies and septic uteruses, from being denied medications they need for chronic illnesses because they are of child bearing age, and at the hands of their partners-because homicide was already the top cause of death in pregnant women so I can’t imagine the rates are going to suddenly decrease. Other than that. Since he said it better than I, I hope you will read it.

And none of that even touches on the decisions the court made regarding powers given to police and away from citizens. Or the independent state doctrine they are looking at next.  Since apparently those haven’t hit most people’s attention yet.

Normally I process things by talking, but since I was isolated, instead I did a lot of journaling and free writing. Reams of scribbles in an attempt to calm my brain and reduce the sick feeling in my stomach to something I could live with. In the process, this was the only piece that had any structure. I am not sure what it is, really. I don’t think it is a poem—or if it is, it is surely a bad one as I don’t know the first thing about poetry. But it is the only thing I produced that wasn’t a rant or a rage, and it interests me enough that it might grow up to be something someday. So I am sharing.

I don’t want to sit in church on Sunday
using the walls to pretend the pain outside does not belong to me,
claiming for myself
        what I refuse to others.
I don’t want to sit in church on Sunday
saturated in a version of God
        made convenient, rather than true,
holding firm
to faith that smells of fear.
I want to wake up on Sunday morning
and go walking in the ordinary miracle that is the world,
reminding myself
        that I am a part of it.
I want to walk on a Sunday morning
stopping to pick up broken glass scattered
like confetti on the concrete,
moving on
        without acknowledgement.

7 Responses

  1. I love reading your blog posts, and being partial to dragonflies and lovely colors, love the dragonfly painting too.

  2. You said, “Is this what men who have women to take care of the mental load for them experience nearly all the time?”. yep. It is why I got my shed.

  3. Enjoyed reading your post. Sounds like you had a productive time away from the usual. Loved your painting and photos too! Stay calm and keep producing, but only when you feel like it.

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