Retreat

Last year I started taking day trips to Mount Lemmon, to walk, read and study for Spiritual
Practitioner class. I found a spot tucked away from the “crowds” where I could mostly be by myself. I think of these times as my date with God. On the first trip up the mountain there was a service truck with the bumper sticker, “The one source for all your… needs.” I smiled, yes, there is One Source for all of my needs. And I know had I been with another human being, I might have missed that bumper sticker.

I had recently retired and was starting Spiritual Practitioner training, and looking for a new symbol for this next section of my life. On my first trip I saw turkeys. And I was a little put off by having a turkey as a symbol, thinking of people getting called “turkey” and it not being such a positive thing. However, when I got home, I learned turkeys are a symbol of “sacred service.” And indeed, this new adventure does feel very connected to sacred service.

I have just finished my second semester of Spiritual Practitioner Studies. It was a difficult term for me, reconciling different issues. During this term I also didn’t have my dates on the mountain with God. I am someone who feels the Presence of God when the breeze caresses my face, when I drink in the scent of the pines, when the birds sing, when I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

I needed to spend time alone with God. I felt a giddiness inside that felt extra ordinary when I noticed a bumper sticker “God went to art school.” Yes, I have always felt nature was God’s coloring book, the beauty of nature, the metaphors of the natural world speak to me. During this day on the mountain, I decided to go on a retreat on the mountain for a couple of days.

I made accommodations for a couple of nights on Mount Lemmon. A few days later the weather forecast was for snow during my trip. I made it to the top of the mountain and just as predicted snow started falling and falling. The next morning there was an inch or two on the ground and more snow was still gently falling. I went for a walk and felt I had the mountain top to myself. It was so quiet I heard the snow land on my coat. I was in awe and joy and deep gratitude for this experience. In the distance I heard turkeys calling.

It was easy to make the accommodations for the retreat, but somehow I feel God put the “treat” in the retreat.

And my prayer of gratitude for this experience comes from a song by John Denver…

 

You fill up my senses.
Like a night in a forest
Like a mountain in springtime                                                                                      Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert                                                                                           Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again

 

 

–Maria

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