Retreat

There has been an extraordinary amount of craziness in my schedule of late, in part because I have wittingly taken too much on this year (hey, opportunity knocked and I crazily listened; what can I say?) and in part because occasionally I have three-day migraines that grind me to an absolute, sudden halt and all the stuff I should do piles up behind me like an eighty-car pile-up on a foggy freeway, the aftermath of which requires lengthy, laborious sorting.

Sunrise from a hill above Canandaigua Lake, 10 March 2012

To elucidate, after being derailed by a migraine early last week, I have baked no cookies since the last time I posted here, and while I have knit a little, I have finished nothing, and have only been able to knit when sitting in classes during which it would have been rude to pull out a computer and write a seventeen-page paper for a wholly different class. And yes, I assume it was not rude to knit. I may be wrong on that front. I do know it is rude to hand in a paper three days past deadline, but Monday that is exactly what I did. Could not be helped, but feels inexcusable regardless. I also had to let a few work-related tasks slide for far too long, and have paid for that with sleeplessness by night and frantic spurts of activity by day.

Today, however. Today I am heading to a monastery on the Hudson for retreat, a retreat that feels a bit like welcome respite and a bit like full-on surrender. I have packed a little homework (not much) and the tiniest work assignment (nothing major) and the afghan for knitting whilst praying. I will not be home until Friday evening. I am going to the river, and I hope to come home a better person. Or at least a better rested person. A person ready and able to finish figuring the tax return. Sleep would be a very good thing.

I leave you with this Wendell Berry poem that I have long had tucked in a prayer book:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

And so may it be.

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, Higher ed, On the fly (aka from a mobile device), Worky work and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Retreat

  1. What a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it. I hope your retreat is everything you need it to be – both known and unknown. Many blessings to you. Love, Elizabeth

  2. Sarah says:

    What a lovely poem. Enjoy your retreat!

  3. So glad you are going Patti! It is precious time….be as honest as you can.

    Your Wendall Berry poem reminds me of a wonderful book, The Practice of the Wild, by Gary Snyder. He gets to the heart of it in a similar way. OXOX

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