Of Cabins and Greens Beneath the Snow

Afihyia Pa!

It is Day 13 into the New Year. I made no special resolutions to begin this year. I didn’t even plan to release my blog post on the 1st as I did last year. For some reason, this year entered my consciousness nonchalantly. A month prior to NYE, I had made some plans to visit a friend and her partner in NYC, together with my own partner. My partner had surgery so in between the surgery and NYE a decision was made that perhaps we should postpone this event. We did and to an extent I think that’s why the actual day held no particular significance.  This year, my mom came to the East Coast because two of her three daughters now reside in New England. The two weeks of having everyone in the same space took it’s toll on me, more than I let on. So anyway, it stands to reason that even though blogging was a thought, it remained so until now.

I am sitting in a cabin at a retreat center in MI. I arrived on Sunday, a day and half later than I had planned because the snow had me waylaid in Rochester and then Columbus, but once I let go of the disappointment of losing time, I set about making my new home cozy. It’s a big studio really, with a fireplace and a screened-in, but unheated, porch. Sadly, it’s too cold to spend time in there.

After I unpacked everything I settled in with the “cabin journals.” I started to think of what sort of intention I wanted to set for my time here. I read all the entries from the previous retreatants. Some had funny stories about trying to start the fireplace. Some, stories about celebrating birthdays, grieving, or preparing to end the battle with cancer. I feel held by those who have journeyed here before me and the promise of peace that they found beckons me. I had been thrown off by the traveling through those other cities and spending more time with family and friends than I had originally budgeted for. I decided that perhaps I didn’t really need an intention, per se. Just that I had finally managed to deliver myself to quiet and some silence with no obligations for anyone’s welfare except mine. I was grateful to be able to afford this luxury. It was not lost on me that I had a “room of my own.” I pondered how many women, especially Black women had been able to journey in this cabin before me. I was very aware that I could afford this because I had very little debt (minus my massive student loan debt of course) and no dependants. I gave thanks for the choices that had led me to this place and I prayed for those who so much needed a refuge as this but who could not afford it for one reason or another.

As of last night I had been efficiently silent for about 30 hours, except for the few minutes when I spoke to the caretaker about my heat. I have sent texts and Whatsapp messages to a couple people but that’s the extent of it. The silence is absolute and the top-calf-high (I am 5’6) snow definitely aids in that atmosphere of hush. I like that out here further out into the midwest the sun sets much later. Back in Western Mass, by 5, it’s already dark. I was surprised when I began the drive from Mass that I was able to drive until almost 6 pm with natural light. I really miss natural light. I had originally planned to do some research while I was here but I realized when I checked in that there was no wireless. I think it’s a good thing. I have Kevin Kern Radio (Pandora on my phone) strumming in the background and I move from my desk to my twin bed to the futon interchangeably. There is no microwave so it means I’m lighting the stove everytime I need to warm something.

I spent most of Monday reading and trying to write a couple things. I’m one of those cooks who always has all burners going. Somehow this is not working too well as far as my writing is concerned. I brought with me a bunch of Ms. Bambara’s work and have been working my way through Gorilla, My Love and The Black Woman anthology. I walked the circumference of what they call the “Laura” here. This basically means the green around which and towards which each cabin faces. I discovered that underneath all that snow, there was indeed green still. That amazed me. I thought everything died before snow came. I was schooled. I spent an hour in the main house library browsing the spirituality titles. I discovered a deck of tarot cards based on the concept of Guardian Angels. I tried my hand at a Keurig machine for the first time. The result was too sweet even for me. On my way back to the cabin, I ran into the caretaker and decided to see if I could get a microwave. I was heating my meals on the stove and since I usually did it right when I had already deduced I was famished, this meant most of the meal was lukewarm at best.

You gotta love mothers; for me I definitely see this term as enveloping all women caring for others. My mom set about making sure that my freezer was stocked a few days before her vacation was over. Unlike me, mom believes in cooking each dish individually so she can give it her undivided attention. She filled all my storage containers and even made single portion servings for me to bring with on retreat. Everytime I heat up something I smile because I think we are never too old for us to appreciate being cared for. I should share this gratitude with my mom.

In any case, I have decided that since I have a ton of Midwest friends, I’ll use this time to also see some of them. I had dinner with the first people I came out to: M&B. The first lesbian couple I met in the U.S. I count myself lucky to have met M at a crucial time when I was questioning. I am grateful that we always seem to pick up where we left off. This time it had been 2 years. I’m hoping to have a Lunch & Write as I call my power writing sessions with my friend D whom I haven’t seen in about 15 months although it feels much longer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed to make it to my favorite city, Chicago, on Friday after my imposed silence is over to see two other friends. It seems a shame to come this far and to only be two hours from them and not make the effort.

In the meantime I went bookstore browsing this afternoon in a small local bookstore and bought a clay moulding kit. I made the moulds and now have 6 princesses to paint. I’ll have pictures later.

I think I will consider making this sort of playful creative endeavor be a moe integral part of my week in 2015.

There! I think I worked out a resolution.

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