I’m not even sure where to begin…. perhaps with this?
The cross-country drive to Trout Lake, Washington was long and exhausting, but covered some of the most beautiful territory I’ve ever seen. Nick and I made several cross-country drives in the early days of our lives together, but that was more than 20 years ago (where does the time go?) and I realized on this trip how much I love our country and have missed exploring her beauty.
Apart from a few drizzles, the weather was stunning – bright blue skies, fluffy clouds, and crisp, clean air. It was wonderful.
It was also a real pleasure to make the trip with my dear, funny, and very loving friend Kimmy.
It’s been a tough year for both of us, in many respects, and although we were really (REALLY) ready for the trip to be over by the end of it (13 hours in the car on the last day – yikes!), we were in real need of some concentrated time together to catch up and pray and invest in one another.
Our route took us through Albuquerque, both coming and going, and we stayed at the Nativo Lodge both nights. Very reasonably priced, with a restaurant and bar on site, an indoor pool and hot tub, and comfortable rooms. The staff was top-notch, too – a real pleasure in a time when customer service seems to be an outdated notion. I’m happy to recommend Nativo to you if you ever find yourself in Albuquerque.
I’ve already written about my sweet friend Melissa and her family – we stayed with them both coming and going, too. Her husband, Garth, was very gracious and patient with the disruption in their lives! (Thanks, Garth!)
But, of course, the best part of the trip was being there.
This was the view from my bedroom, and I fell asleep every night to the sound of the water – heaven! The house seemed perfectly – almost surreally – designed to fit our needs, with the exception of the sleeper sofa in the den. Our friend Robin Delargy had a tough time of it until we found her an inflatable mattress to put on top of it!
We set up our workspace in the garage – some common tools along the back and on one table near the front, the rest of the tables for individual workstations that we could set up as they best suited us.
There were things I brought along that never made it out of the box and some things I didn’t bring that I really missed, but in general I felt well set up. And people were very generous about sharing what they had.
We had planned a lot of demos – to be honest, we’d planned too many, and some we didn’t even get to. It was a good lesson learned for next year. But the amount of sharing that happened organically was just amazing – we’d be starting a project and just holler out, “I’m doing some sawing – anyone want a demo on using a jeweler’s saw?” or “I’m setting a stone with corners – anyone want to see how that’s done?” Several times, people approached me with a challenge they were having and we just talked through it – there was an ebb and flow to the creativity and a cooperative sharing of information and tips and experience that was truly humbling. No one held back – we just put it out there, whatever we had, for the sharing.
In fact, even more than the creativity, I was struck by how immediately we bonded. This isn’t the post for a dissection of a particular truth, but let’s face it, women can be just awful to one another and for some reason that can be especially true in the creative community. There was absolutely none of that – not even a whiff – at this Retreat. In fact, several people mentioned during the week that they’d been apprehensive about that potential dynamic, and how relieved they were by the reality. Everyone just set their egos aside and poured into one another for six days – it makes me tear up a little just thinking about it.
One of the ladies brought a case full of trays with the most beautiful cabochons. We spent an entire morning looking through them!
Registration for Metal Retreat 2014 will open in January!