My birthday rolled around (again!) on the first weekend in February and, like last year, I celebrated by myself at St. Columba Episcopal Retreat and Conference Center. I had already planned to attend a half-day silent retreat on Friday morning, so I reserved a hermitage and stayed all weekend.
St. Columba has become an important part of my life over the years. When Gwen was with us, the monthly half-day retreats and the annual weekend retreat were the only forms of respite available to me. Now that she is gone, the solitude and silence I crave can always be found sitting by the fire in the lodge or rambling around the 40 acres with no distractions.
The two hermitages are small one-person cottages with a bathroom, kitchenette and a bedroom/living area with a fireplace. Last year, I took my vintage quilt along, but this year I had the memory quilt made for me by friends from church. It looked great in its rustic surroundings.
The weather was cold and I was tired, so I spent lots of time under this quilt basking in the warmth of a fire and re-reading the messages written by people who loved Gwen. In between many long naps, I spent the weekend traipsing through the woods looking for color in an otherwise bleak winter landscape. Surprisingly, there was plenty to be found, most of it supplied by fungi.
Such as oranges and reds…
Reds and greens. I love that random mahonia growing in the middle of nowhere.
More fungi in green and blue-green
a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/45804256@N08/5441698307/” title=”color in winter – green by Get Stitchy With Sarah, on Flickr”>
This wrinkly raisin-colored mass that looks like fruit leather
And a fungal trifecta with orange, blue-green and raisin all on one stick!
I was hoping for snow that weekend but only spotted a few stray flakes. A few days later, however, Memphis had 3+ inches on the ground! The retreat center undoubtedly looked like a white wonderland and I’m sorry to have missed it.
Although these birthday weekends are relaxing and renewing, I may have to skip next year. I will be having a big birthday (the kind where your age ends with “0″) and am not happy about it. So it will probably be better to throw a big party with friends and family than to brood alone about my geriatric status.
So y’all help me here. Should I have a Barbie, Dora or Disney Princess theme?