Time to head home

This has been the view from my living room window for the past five days:

And from my dining room table.

And from the kitchen window.

Tomorrow I will start the trek back home again.

Sigh.

This is my third retreat in as many years. The last two were in Prince Edward Island (in fact several of my first blog posts were about PEI) and even though images of Cavendish Beach were starting to appear in my head in about mid-September, I decided this year I needed to be a little closer to home for two reasons: 1) to give the Airmiles a chance to build up again and 2)so I could bookend the drive to Nelson with  Leaf promotion.

The drive out was spectacular.

And Leaf is now available at Pixie Hollow in High River, Because I Said So in Nanton (how’s that for a fun name?), Polar Peek Books and Treasures in Fernie, Black Bear Books in Creston, and Maplerose, Through the Looking Glass, and Otter Books in Nelson.

A successful trip out.

And it looks good for the trek home.

I have lined up a reading in Penticton, a signing in Kelowna and will stop in every promising town along the way in my continued attempt to find Leaf as many new homes as possible. If all goes well, my trip home will be as successful as my trip out.

Successful.

Yes.

But I will never combine my annual retreat with work ever again.

In the end, out of my ten days away from home, only two days were completely free of Leaf-related work. Happily, they were side by side days, but I could have carved those out of my life at home.

Last year, of the ten days I was gone, two were for travel and the remaining eight were devoted to rest and renewal: eating, sleeping, walking, reading, writing and watching movies.

Absolutely lovely.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been a wonderful interlude here in the Kootenays. The weather has been gorgeous, the scenery divine. I was able to visit some friends in Kaslo who I hadn’t seen in way too many years and the two days of uninterrupted quiet and solitude I enjoyed on Sunday and Monday were a balm to my soul.

Make that three days. Today was pretty awesome, too.

I will re-enter the real world tomorrow more grounded, peaceful and rested than I was when I arrived — after all, I have been blissfully free of the daily round of housework and meals and day-to-day to-do lists for a week already — but not nearly as grounded, peaceful and rested as I would have been had I really given this time to myself.

When I look at the envelope that kept track of my savings towards this retreat

and think about all those months of saving toward these ten days

I feel a little cheated.

And I did it to myself.

Oh, well. Live and learn, I guess.

It took me years to finally convince myself that Mama going on retreat was a good thing for everyone in the family (and then to figure out how to afford it), and another year to save toward the first one. So what if it takes me another year or two to figure out what works and what doesn’t?

So . . . when I get back home, I will start a fresh envelope and every week, when I add a bit more cash to the stash, I will remember this and when it finally comes time to head out for my ten days of solitary renewal, I will be packing very lightly.

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