Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winter Escape 2014

I pause my writer's blogs to discuss an annual event that helps inspire and rejuvenate me.  For the third consecutive year, I attended "Winter Escape"- a retreat for people my age in Unitarian communities across the metropolitan DC area.  This year, 30 young adults visited Gifford Pinchot state park in central Pennsylvania.  We stayed in cabins on a frozen lake and enjoyed workshops and fellowship.

from our cabin- Lake Pinchot
From the moment we arrived, the park was inspiring.  In Washington, it is difficult to see many stars because of light pollution, yet as we pulled into the park the sky was lit by thousands of shining pearls.  On our second day, I drove Rachel and three of our friends to Indian Echo Caverns.  This was also inspiring.  School of Deaths takes place in a world where most of the terrain is described as canyons and earthen features.  What better place for inspiration than a limestone cave?

Like all Winter Escapes, our time was short.  This was a three day weekend (although my time off from school was extended by Winter Storm Janus).  One of the biggest highlights of the trip for me was a four-mile hike most of the group took around the lake.  I and several other adventurous souls even ventured onto the mostly-frozen surface of the water itself (no, I didn't fall in).  Walking through forests around a snow covered lake at sunset was the perfect way to forget the daily frustrations and stresses of teaching, and to focus on myself and the world of my writing.

Returning from Winter Escape, having made new friends, fed a goat for the first time, taken salsa dancing lessons (and successfully learned to dip Rachel), and having had a blast all around, I felt rejuvenated.  This is a part of the winter I look forward to each and every year...

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