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.


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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