As I told you on Friday, I went to a Buddhist writing retreat this weekend. I had no idea what to expect and I’m positive it was that attitude that left me so wide open for possibilities.
First, let’s get the sleeping in the car thing over with. Some people (hi mom) were appalled and fearful for my safety – “that’s bear country you know.” I assure you that there were never any worries. Flashlights and lanterns sufficiently held back the dark and I was quite warm, safe, and comfortable each night (well, more so on the second night when I moved the car from a steep incline – it had looked like nothing more than a gently slope when I first parked – to a flat parking surface.) Although I don’t plan on sleeping in my car on a regular basis, I would certainly do it again especially when it meant you ended up staying in a room with a view like this:
Most of the retreat was spent in something called Noble Silence. Which was a surprise to me – I had assumed that when two or more writers are gathered in a room, there will be critical analysis and discussion.
We were encouraged to not say anything. At all.
And we were also encouraged to only read for 15 minutes.
Wait. You mean you have all of these great chairs on a porch with this kind of view and I can’t read???? But, you know my philosophy, in for a penny, in for a pound. I figured if I’m here, I’m here and so I kept (as much as I could, anyway) my mouth shut and tucked away the library of books I had packed. (For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you’ll know that posting to Facebook was *technically* not talking.)
But guess what? If you can’t talk and you can’t read at a writer’s retreat, it leaves a lot of open time to … WRITE. Which is what I did. For hours at a time.
I found my bliss. But that’s not to say that I didn’t occasionally get up and explore the grounds (one can only sit so long in a wooden chair.)
At the retreat, they had a variety of fowl.
Here are some Guinea fowl who roamed the lawn in a constant search for food (and hopefully ticks.) They reminded me of my kids’ toddler soccer games where the ball becomes more of a magnet than equipment for the sport, both teams surrounding it down the field hoping to make contact. Whenever you saw one Guinea fowl, you saw them all.
They also had ducks, but this is the closest I ever got to them. They roamed in a flock and made a funny, wet woodpecker sound when eating out of their buckets.
There was this cat, whom, as lovely as he looked, was not allowed to come any closer as I hadn’t packed any kind of allergy medication (and I only had one pair of contacts with me.) Sorry cat, I know that all life is precious but so are my eyes.
And lastly, there was these guys, beautiful Buckeyes. With the retreat’s small flock of about 12 hens, they had three roosters who constantly roamed the grounds ensuring that all was well. None of these roosters were aggressive (although one did charge at me, but when I charged back, he retreated and respected me going forward for the alpha that I was.)
Buckeyes are beautiful, stunning really. And they crow.
All the time.
At 5:30 a.m. right outside your car door. At 5:35 a.m. when you are stumbling in the dark to find the camping lantern that had fallen between the seats in your car. When the sun comes up, when the wind blows, when an apple falls,… Basically there is no reason for these bad boys not to sing, especially when there are three young males who are trying to outperform each other.
And while it is a lovely, bucolic sound, after hearing that I had a flock, and being asked if I wanted to take one or two or even three of them home, I – breaking my silence, and using my most definite words – said “thanks but no thanks.”
Those roosters have found their own bliss up there in the land of views and it wasn’t up to me to take that away.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.