Second Annual Birthday Retreat

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.

Memory Quilt in action

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…

color in winter- orange

color in winter- orange

color in winter- red/orange

color in winter- orange/yellow

Reds and greens. I love that random mahonia growing in the middle of nowhere.

color in winter- red

color in winter- green

More fungi in green and blue-green

color in winter- green

a href=”” title=”color in winter – green by Get Stitchy With Sarah, on Flickr”>color in winter - green

color in winter- green

color in winter- blue/green

This wrinkly raisin-colored mass that looks like fruit leather

color in winter- raisin

And a fungal trifecta with orange, blue-green and raisin all on one stick!

color in winter- a trifecta!

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?


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13 Responses to “Second Annual Birthday Retreat”

  1. mary allison Says:

    the birthday wouldn’t be complete without a fun-gi, right? what a great pic of it… and the quilt!

  2. aimee Says:

    Gorgeous quilt Sarah & very cool pictures! Glad you got to take some time for yourself.

  3. Gwen Says:

    Happy belated birthday from me too! The Fungi photos are great, inspirational for color choices as well. For your 30th (!) birthday next year, you could choose a quote on youth, life experience,… and let all the guests have a go at their own interpretation of it. Take care

  4. Erica Says:

    I always forget how close our birthdays are! Happy, happy! I vote for a WONDER WOMAN party!

  5. sheila Says:

    Belated Happy Birthday. and what a wonder way to remember Gwen.
    not being a party animal I can’t really suggest a theme, but big ‘0’s’ are not all they are cracked up to be lol. I would personally go for the retreat again and let the others organise a party. hugs s

  6. velma Says:

    That is some lovely fungus! The quilt is beautiful & so’s the room. It all sounds wonderful. Glad you got to relax.

  7. Sarah's Sister Says:

    That’s some good fungus.

  8. Audra Says:

    Hmmm… E would vote princess. You could do what P did for mine and buy plates of every kind! We had anything from Scooby Doo, cars, princess, Hello Kitty… so fun! And now we have quite an assortment of leftover plates. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Amy Says:

    Lovely photos. I too love to find a splash of color in an otherwise bleak landscape. That is why I love dogwoods, I think – they are so refreshing in a woods baren of leaves.
    Big “0” birthday for me next year too…

  10. jessica Says:

    oh Sarah! the quilt is gorgeous all laid out. So special. and if course i am swooning over your mushroom sightings. how lovely to have that quiet and beauty. happy belated birthday!


  11. Elisabeth Says:

    Kara and I vote for Disney Princess…..

  12. liveparadox Says:

    Dora, definitely. She’s the cool kid. ๐Ÿ™‚

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