• Tag Archives retreat
  • A Beltane Snow

    Beltane                                                                               Planting Moon

    So.  If the goddess goes out to meet the horned god for a little whoopy in Minnesota tonight, the pair will freeze.  And possibly end up under a snow drift.  Since their ritual seals the beginning of the growing season, it may not look good for the crops.

    Although in our instance the cold weather crops will enjoy this continued blast of chilly air and I imagine the air and the soil will warm up around the usual time for the warm weather crops like tomatoes and green peppers.

    Tomorrow we’ll wade into the snow and take off for the North Shore where if the weather maps are right, we might run into a lot of snow near our destination, the Cascade Beach Road area north of Lutsen.  The Woolly’s will gather again, diminished in numbers a bit by the absence of gentlemen Jim Johnson who is in Hawai’i, Charlie Haislet who is enroute to the Twin Cities as I write this from Shanghai, I believe and Mark Odegard, who will come up later like Charlie.

    These gatherings have moved from heavily structured to loosely structured to almost no structure, the years and the bonds taking care of the programmatic aspects of our time together.  Mostly we go to catch up, take each other in in those small ways, off to the side, in casual moments that don’t happen during our twice a month meetings during the rest of the year.

    This particular retreat finds two of us fairly new to the third phase and retirement, two of us still on the cusp.  It means in some fashion the Woollies will change.  How is not clear.  Perhaps something will become obvious during the retreat, perhaps not.  Part of this third phase journey is the slower pace, the more deliberate decision making, the luxury of time to consider matters with care.

    Not sure whether there is wi-fi at the house on Lake Superior, so I don’t know if I’ll be posting over the next few days or not.  If not.  Till Sunday evening.

  • The Woollys of September

    Lughnasa                                                       Waning Harvest Moon

    Woolly Mammoths on reading.  We had a meeting focused on current books, readings underway or accomplished during the summer.  Guys brought out books recounting the Battle of Little Big Horn hour by hour, the agony of the war in Vietnam, a Chinese classic with the attendant multiple volumes, the built in adaptive structures in the below consciousness part of our awareness.  Woollys are readers.

    We also learned Charlie has a solid offer on his condo atop a warehouse district building.  Scott has still not come back to Minnesota from his time in Colorado and Utah.  Frank still doesn’t like the nuns in the Catholic school he attended.  Bill’s focused on Regina’s needs rights now.  Stefan attended the Men’s conference this year and brought back Zack, an aspiring actor and writer, who read a powerful example of his work.

    Ode’s knee has gone from good to worse and now will require a third operation.  Frank’s new granddaughter is roly-poly. Warren, in the humor highlight of the evening, realized he had not yet signed up for Social Security.  Why humor?  Well, he does cover aging for the Star-Tribune and has done so for a long time.

    We also discussed, a favorite topic, our retreat.  Some want to be near water, others want tradition at the Dwelling or Valhelga.  We agreed on the last week of April, the first week of May.  That’s a start.


  • Back From The Cloud

    Imbolc                                                           Waxing Bridgit Moon

    The drive home with Frank is over.  We followed route 12 back east, away from Blue Cloud Abbey and the snow which had claimed a semi and an SUV on the road away from the Abbey, stopping only in Litchfield for a Chinese lunch, a buffet.  We talked as usual about many things religion, politics, women and family history.

    Another Woolly retreat has finished, our 24th by some counts.  The 25th will break with our two decade long tradition of late January, early February dates and move us into the last days of September and the first of October, September 29-October 2.  We hope this will encourage more of us to get outside, walk, hike, enjoy the weather and the place.  We’ve opted for our fourth retreat at Blue Cloud Abbey.  It suits our sensibility as a place dedicated to the sacred and brotherhood and is far enough away to count as a trip.  It also has individual rooms and prepared meals.

    We have also developed a relationship with the monks, two brotherhoods with different founding purposes, yet a common focus on the life of men together.  We explore different facets of common ground each time, this time the chanting with Father Michael and some time with Father Tom.  We will, I believe, prove resistant to their attempts at evangelism, hamfisted as they are, but not done in mean spirit.

    Now I’m on my study computer where I’ve just entered the upcoming activities from calendar, trying to spot the time to get back to work on Missing.  That will emerge this week, as I plan to get at least an hour a day in until I can squeeze out more.  I may still go back out to Blue Cloud for a quiet and solitary place to write.

  • Last Day Under the Bell Tower

    Imbolc                                 Waxing Bridgit Moon

    Last day.  We leave this morning, having already taken breakfast with the monks.  At the table I learned that someone had noticed I left the dome light on in the truck.  I know what happened.  That damned seat belt.  When we finished unpacking, exhausted from the drive, I parked the truck, slipped out of the seat and closed the door.

    But.  In an otherwise excellent vehicle, the seat belt does not retract all the time, sometimes staying elongated and falls to a point  where it blocks the doors.  Most often I would notice, but after the drive I must have been careless.  Now the Tundra will require a jump.


  • Remember The Sabbath Day And Keep It Holy

    76  bar steady 29.97  0mph NEE dew-point 58  sunrise 6:10 sunset 8:25  Lughnasa

    Waxing Gibbous Corn Moon    moonrise 1633 moonset 0040

    Strange how I have to relearn, sometimes again and again, simple home truths.  A day of rest is good for the soul.  The Jews knew it.  The traditional Christian community knew it.  It may be a Western contribution to humanity.  I’ll have to check, but I don’t think the Asian communities have a similar notion.  Yes, they have festivals and holidays, that’s for sure shared, but the notion of a weekly day of rest?  I don’t know.  Those of you who read from Southeast Asia, what do you know?

    Anyhow, I woke up today recharged and ready to go.  This in spite of my lingering doubts yesterday.  Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.  Quite a while back I got interested in the idea of sacred time, my commitment to the Celtic calendar is an example.  I also observe a week long retreat at the end of each year thanks to the Mayan concept that the last five days of the year are best left alone in terms of work.

    I took from the Spanish cultures, especially Colombia and Mexico, the siesta.  A nap a day continues to be a cornerstone of how I live daily.

    The religious communities with whom I shared a vocation for a time convinced me of the value of regular retreats.  The retreats and the Sabbath day have been honored more in the breach than the observance, but I believe that is about to change.  Our body needs sleep, perchance to dream, and, it turns out, our mind does, too.  Recent research shows that the mind sifts, weighs, analyzes and interprets the days events while we sleep.  I suspect the same thing occurs when we take a regular caesura from the usual rhythms of our week and our year.

    Please note I’m not talking about vacations here.  Those exist for a different reason, I believe.  Vacations allow us to vacate the norm and experience another world.  They are more for fun and for education seen as fun.

    The holy rhythms of which I write here are different.  They focus on the spirit, the care and maintenance of our soul.  Our doubts about such a metaphysically evanescent idea may have contributed to our immersion in and the stickiness for us of the material, outer world.

    Well, time to put this regathered energy to work.  See you on the flipside.

  • From Football Genius to Dastardly Spymaster

    26  92%  28%  0mph WWN bar30.10 steep rise windchill26  Imbolc

                Waning Crescent of the Winter Moon

    Today I reap the benefits of advanced preparation.  None of that running around trying to get stuff together at the last minute.  I always forget important things when I do that.

    Got another batch of ping backs today.  Seems like they’ve picked up in volume in the last week.  Don’t know why that should be.

    Noticed Bill Bellichik of the Patriots has gone from football genius to dastardly arrogant spymaster in two days.  Shouldn’t lose.  It does bad things to your winning reputation.

    My sense of anticipation rises about a month on different ground than home.  Much as I love our home, the chance to get away, find other experiences ranks high on my list.  A retreat with my brothers in the Woolly Mammoths and then three weeks in Hawi’i will scratch some of that itch.  Went to sleep last night imagining early morning workouts on the beach.

  • Mulberry Trees in Armenia

    31  91%  26%  3mph N bar29.80 steady windchill29  Imbolc

                  Waning Crescent of the Winter Moon

    This snow has a lot of different forms: sleet, snert, wet snow, less wet snow.  At least it didn’t plug the snowblower.  As I followed the snowblower down the driveway and back up, I had these background/foreground visions:  background–I’m layered up, in swiftly falling snow and operating a loud orange machine; foreground–I’m sitting on the lanai of our oceanview room in the Westin looking out toward the western horizon of the Pacific ocean as the sun begins to set. 

    The snow makes the transition from Minnesota to Hawai’i a nice contrast. 

    Getting stuff done today and tomorrow since on Wednesday I leave for Dwelling in the Woods.  My day without the guys I plan to snowshoe and read about Taoism, prepare for my workshop.  During the retreat I plan to snowshoe at least once a day. 

    Picked up some dried mulberries today at the co-op.  Sweet, but not local.  Not hardly.  From Turkey.  It just occurred to me that I read an article this afternoon about silk scarf makers in Armenia, next to the Turkish border.  They had a historic industry, but the Armenian genocide wiped it out.  This town had just received a grant from the EU to grow, mulberry trees!