I have to be pretty close to the luckiest lady on earth. I have this wonderful community of friends and like minded educators around me that just so happen to also be blessed. We have come together often to share our blessings and last year started a tradition of retreats. I have to say I feel more grounded right this second than I have in weeks, maybe months. No lighting of divine intervention hit me, no moment of profound inspiration... just two lazy days with my girlfriends, hanging out on the water in a house where this is a big sign above the fireplace:
When we first got there, it was a cold and blustery morning. We had to walk about three blocks with our bags and baskets of crafts.
As we walked down the little beach lane that runs next to the railroad tracks, an older gentleman smiled and said "Ladies night out, huh?" I replied with "Felt crafts and hot tea! Wooohooo!" We all laughed.
About two hours after we got there and tucked in, the sun came out:
What a BEAUTIFUL place! The water hits the deck at high tide, smashing against the bulkhead beneath the house with wonderful calming ocean sounds. We couldn't see the beach at all... you walked out the back door and all you saw was water.
I only left the house once to get lunch with two other friends. The rest of the time we hung out and talked, we watched movies and chatted about homeschooling, scheduling conflicts, things that work well, and things that don't. We found comfort, encouragement, and laughter. So much laughter. My sides ache just thinking about how much we all laughed this weekend. It was wonderful.
A huge highlight for me were these babies:
Now, we live minutes from the Pudget Sound. And although we have tons of wild life, we don't have a lot of the larger critters that live in the waters around us. I have seen quite a few seals, and more seabirds than I can count... but I have never seen a whale or dolphin in the wild. My friend Jessica and I were having a conversation and out of the corner of my eye I see these dorsal fins pop up out of the water behind her. I yelled "Whales!" and jumped up and ran outside. Everyone was right behind me. We watched them for about 20 minutes while taking pictures and trying to get a better look. We all thought that they were Orca at first.... but after a while Sarah and I were confused. They were so small... their fins don't stick up enough. "Oh my goodness! I just saw a face... it's a dolphin!!" Since then I have identified them as the Harbor Porpoise, a shy creature that lives close to the shorelines of both the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans. What a wonderful sighting!
I got up at 5:30am on Sunday for work, and as I stood on the deck for my last few minutes there I saw the waves of low tide quietly splashing on the beach that had been hidden all our waking hours the whole weekend. I saw the sky turning a deep purple of predawn, and the mist of fall hitting me on the face as I walked to my car. I could have lived in that moment forever.
I can't express how nature calms me. It grounds me... makes me feel whole. Taking good photos of it feeds my soul somehow. Between that, good food, and laughter with wonderful friends I feel blissfully recharged.