Thursday, April 7, 2011

If a Picture Speaks a Thousand Words...

I take an awful lot of pictures each year on the Monhegan Island Retreat. And so does Patty. Well, okay, everybody seems to take a lot of pictures, but Patty is the official photographer and I'm the pinch hitter. You can see a great slideshow over at the Knitting and Yoga Adventures website. And when you join us on a retreat, you can count on a final evening party that also includes a slideshow. But I thought it would be fun, from time to time, to pull out a couple of pictures and post them here and tell you either what I was thinking in the moment, or what I think of now, as I sit at home, counting the days 'til I can get back to the island. Here are a couple of shots and what they mean to me.

The little red piece of paper you see above is, as you can read, a boarding pass for the ferry that takes us from Port Clyde over to Monhegan Island. When I hold one of these in my hand, I feel like Charlie finding a golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory. By the time I reach this point in my journey, I've flown from Austin to Portland, then taken the van from Portland to Port Clyde, eating delicious snacks along the way. (Patty is a great snack packer.) I'm usually a little tired from the plane and van rides, but my giddiness invigorates me and ultimately trumps any sleepiness I'm fending off. I can't wait to hand my ticket over to the folks who load our luggage and guide us across the water on the boat, because I know the ticket gets me more than an hour out at sea-- it holds the promise of a week of total relaxation, hiking, yoga, homemade sweets in the afternoon and, of course, the sort of knitting time I wish I could have all year long.

This shot, on the boat, shows some of my co-knitters getting settled in. I like to ride on deck, too, so I can watch Port Clyde recede in the distance, and smell the salty water, and watch the seagulls gliding on the wind currents. I also love the conversation-- even though a lot of us only see each other once a year, and are often too busy in our day-to-day lives to send regular emails, the minute we're back on that boat together it's like no time has passed at all. We pick up conversations where we left them, revisit goofy jokes from the previous retreat and, of course, get to know all of the newcomers who are discovering the glories of the trip for the first time. This is uber-bonding at its finest.

Funny-- I was watching an episode of Mad Men last night, which might sound like an odd aside but hold on and I'll explain. One of Don Draper's love interests was explaining to him that when she's feeling down or facing off with something she'd rather not be, she just looks at her calendar. And why's that? Because she can almost always find something there to look forward to. Of all the things that could've popped in my mind when I heard that line, the thing that instantly flashed across the old mental projection screen was Monhegan Island and the retreat. Seeing that picture above of the beginning of the journey-- this is a picture I carry in my head and heart all year long. I have come to count on September with my knitting friends the way some people rely on more traditional holidays. It is a supreme annual highlight for me. Okay, I better stop now before I get all misty with nostalgia and anticipation.

More pictures soon!

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