Sunday, March 8, 2009


I miss the Skywriters today but I'm thinking of the gifts they left behind. The best gift of all are the memories. I remember the writers about the house and on the porches, in the gazebo and riding in the golf cart, in the hot tub, and some in the cold pool, some walking back from their morning exercises; their faces in deep study as they hunched over computers or pad and pen, reading their poems aloud to us,their distinct voices, hugs, quiet times for work, laughter through the house, food smells from each unique cook, smiling faces, talks into the night, reciting poetry we liked, the choice of the perfect gardenia in honor of Lynne and her mom who loved them, all the little gifts of caring and sharing, and how we took our craft seriously. What a memory it all is and I cherish them all.

I think of Peggy in her ladybug pj's, Ann and Diane getting in from their walk; Ann with golf club in hand using as a walking stick and animal tamer. LOL
Diane leading our opening ceremony and reading to us what she wrote about us as a group for that occasion. That touched us all, and then she introduced us to a meditation she uses at the closing ceremony.
Ann giving a demonstration on different hand bound books she makes. Peggy and Diane brought chapbooks and showed how they differ and how they are alike and what award winners looked like. We read at night from those books and other poetry, sharing the ones that resonated with us.

Dolly brought in her Costa Rican coffee for everyone and also the coffee liquor and her sitting in the lotus position on the couch, working away. What's up with that anyway, my legs haven't been in that position since they gauged my age in months! Lynne passing out personalized wind-chimes (mine was lady bugs) and other gifts in a pretty gift bag. Peggy's flowers that were a lovely addition to our table and our closing ceremony.
Ann presenting her wonderful creation, a matchbox opening to present a poem about us. Precious indeed. Dolly showing us how to cut a mango just right so it comes out beautifully every time.

Diane brought two huge containers of her homemade oatmeal/raisin/cranberry/nut cookies that were out of this world. SOOOOOO good! The gifts of homemade dinners here presented to the rest of us each night. There were incredible meals of grilled salmon, chicken rotini, arroz con pollo, garbanzo bean soup. These were complete with beautiful and delicious salads and scrumptious desserts. Yum!

Lexi was spoiled rotten by each of these women, even the two cat owners! What a wonderful week SHE had!

Bill listened to our poems, geared to someone who doesn't care for poetry. He critiqued each one in a valuable way to us, and choosing the ones that meant the most to him even though he doesn't like poetry (gasp). Bill was also a good tour guide and helper in things we needed to get or have done when we were hard at work. He got to know the Skywriters better and told me what he liked about each of them. He really DID know them after these 10 years we have been together.

We even had fun going to the grocery that first day. We ate at the Colonnade on Bayshore Blvd and the women treated Bill and I to a wonderful fish dinner overlooking the bay and Tampa.
We had strawberry shortcake for breakfast at Parkesdale Farms and then ate it again that night at St. Clement's booth at the Festival.
As our group got smaller when the retreat ended, those of us who walked around beautiful downtown Plant City in a few antique and gift shops ended up at the tea room for Plant City strawberry tea (of course) and donned the hats jprovided that transported Lynne, Peggy and I to a different era (English with a southern flair).
My artist of the month interview came out in the Focus magazine while THEY were here..woo-hoo. The timing was perfect.
I now have memories of us at the Strawberry Festival but with a twist..we almost froze sitting there watching Travis Tritt perform. We huddled together as we heard him sing T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
Seeing all the exhibits at the festival including the painting by my little sister, Hanna, and the three by me.

That's enough for now, many more memories, and others keep popping up. Something someone said that made us laugh or a photo op gone wrong, an offering of a poem written from the heart and given as a gift to us, gathering together for a common purpose, not the least of which is to bond more and to discover new ways to take our art and our lives just by being here as a group. (Like all that healthy eating going on here...I mean, what's up with that...but a little of it DID rub off on me because I'm thinking about it. LOL)

These are the images that come to me today as I think about our retreat. Much love and hugs to each of you who were here and became a part of this time and place: Thank you writer women Ann, Dolly, Peggy, Diane, and Lynne for making our second annual retreat a success.p>

1 comment:

Victoria said...

fun to read this post and see the pictures of the glorious retreat - and of sweet Lexi - what a pretty pretty pup So many gifts shared!