Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

15Dec/120

Winter Retreat – 1

I've never actually taken time away without some "reason" for it. Work trips are obvious and account for the largest number of solo trips I've taken. I've also spent time away on my own to pursue yoga training, definite structure there. Then there's Zen retreat, which is nothing but structure and silence. One weekend meditating and learning about calligraphy from Kaz Tanahashi. A multi-day, Buddhist retreat for women with some guided writing practice.

Trips alone have to involve purpose. That's my way of allowing myself to go. I have to work for it.

So to be here, perched on a little bluff, in a tiny cabin, overlooking the crashing waves and buffeted by howling winds, is entirely new. A retreat from the humming and drumming of my very busy, everyday life. A retreat from structure.

From work I enjoyed the view of the barest sliver of the new moon appearing behind clouds. Once I hit the forest a long, winding, dark, and foggy drive took up all of my attention. I was grateful to stop in Waldport for a few groceries.

I arrived to the cabin outside of Yachats to find the sky miraculously clear for winter on the Oregon coast. I bundled up in my beautiful wrap, in the two blankets provided just for the purpose of sitting on the tiny deck, and watched the night. The vastness of sea and stars and wind and cold surrounding me.

Orion was bright and huge above the forested slopes of the mountains, with Betelgeuse glowing intensely red. The brightest glow, streaking out toward the sea and seeming to illuminate a patch in the center of my field of vision, was Jupiter. Eventually, my cold attention was delighted by a meteor, one of the Geminids peaking so beautifully this year. It streaked directly overhead, shooting out over the sea, or so it appeared.

This morning I searched the beach below the bluff, but struck out in my agate-hunting. In 2010 the largest agate I've ever found was hunted on the small beach here, but of course the rock field has changed considerably. I came back in as the rain picked up, my head pounding, and ate some breakfast while watching seals out in the waves. I lay down to watch the waves from the warm bed in front of a large window, eventually falling asleep again.

I could have gone to rock hunt elsewhere, but the cold made my head pound more. I went into Yachats, thinking I might go by a spa that a teammate at work recommended, or have a late lunch at a restaurant recommended to me. Instead I bought some crackers and soup before driving slowly through town, checking out some roads I've not gone down before. I stopped to watch the crashing waves from the car.

I've mostly rested today, my head intermittently pounding. The weather has stormed all day, the wind howling so fiercely at times that it feels like it is trying to blow us up the mountain! I made some food, ate some, read, slept some more, watched a movie, and listened to a new guided meditation one of my therapists gave me. I ate too much ice cream.

I have another full day tomorrow. I can choose to act on the impatient energy that compels me to do something (go for a hike, go to the Christmas celebration at Heceta Head, go to the spa, go rock hunt) or I could spend it inside again reading and napping. I'm trying to not make a plan, not to add structure. If tomorrow I feel like I want activity, it is available to me, but I'm just staying with the idea that it is also perfectly fine to just sit here with the sound of the waves and weather, resting.

Searching below Ocean Haven - March 2010

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