Our days at the Hermitage drew to an end. We packed our suitcases and returned them to the vehicle for the drive back to my mother’s home. We attended the Vigil and Lauds services, ate breakfast, cleaned up the Sophia House, and headed out into the morning sun.
Driving north on Highway 1, we stopped for a few shorter hikes to see McKay Falls, the redwoods in Big Sur State Park, and to lunch on the beach at Andrew Melora State Park. The closer to Carmel that we drove the more vehicles gathered in a caravan. Four, five, seven, twelve, fifteen.
This was not a pilgrimage of fellow travelers, but annoyed drivers who would rather not be behind others on a section of road without passing zones. The cell phone began to ping, as several days of undelivered messages began to flow. Civilization had begun to return.
Prior to various phenomenon vying for out attention, we talked about our reflections on our days of silent retreat. We agreed that our days were not too different from being at home, in terms of spending time reading and working on creative tasks, knitting for Linda and photography & poetry for Oscar, and home made meals. What was different was that we did not have obligations of tending to the garden, fixing the fence, remodeling our home, and interacting with neighbors and friends. This was more life affirming, rather than life changing.
We also reflected that a hermit’s life of quite, slow pace, contemplative activity was easy for us. But, this is not our direction in life. Rather, for us returning to being in world, if not of the world, involves lived service to others. Most immediately family who are in life transitions. Then friends and neighbors who are coping with illness, retirement, and health challenges.
Sounds as though the retreat was exactly what you needed to gather your energies as you return to family and friends.
Although the retreat was easy for you and the Mrs, I am sure it was freeing not to have any obligations. I certainly enjoyed all the poems and reflections about it.
It would definitely be life changing for me to reset all, mind, body, and soul. I need to find something similar to do, even if it is just a couple of days.
There are monasteries in the north-east which offer silent retreats. An internet search would probably guide you to options. In the Catholic world, these are most likely in Benedictian (of which Trappist is one sub-branch) order. Other faiths, especially yoga, Buddhist and/or Hindu retreat centers might have similar events.
I already started searching for it 🙂