Some people vacation in the Adirondacks in the summer. Yet the cold winter months in the New York mountains offer a beautiful and stark landscape, perfect for taking stock and taking time. How often do we pause to simply exhale and inhale the beauty of nature?
Getting out of your home comfort zone and into nature, even in the winter weather, refreshes your soul. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, my family went up to Westport on Lake Champlain. We took a couple of long walks on Camp Dudley Road. Nothing makes you feel so alive as a brisk winter walk. Breathe. Feel the bracing fresh air and notice the big sky.
Don’t be lulled into the belief that the only way to socialize with family and friends is to dine at home or go out to eat together. I contend that walking and talking and making art together offers a more fulfilling connection. Don’t get me wrong: I love sitting down to a delicious meal with family and friends. It’s a great way to share time and stories. But it’s not the only way.
Walking together makes memories too.
During one of my long winter walks, I hit upon the idea of offering a winter writing and arts retreat in Westport. I, for one, am looking forward to getting quiet, slowing down, going for long winter walks, and, okay, yes, dining together. Telling stories through art and writing.
So I applied a few weeks ago to be an Artist in Residence at the Henderson Hunt Farm in New Milford, Conn. I heard from them yesterday.
See, last year I was wait-listed to be a writer at Breadloaf. I really wanted to go there. It’s the penultimate of writers’ colonies. I could be so prolific. Sipping tea on a porch, rewriting my brilliant prose, laughing with the famous published authors — Annie LaMott, Ted Conover, they would all love me if they knew me. (I am exceedingly likable!)
Sure, Breadloaf costs an arm and a leg. Like maybe four thousand dollars for a few weeks. I should be saving for my three kids to go to college. And not spend my money yucking it up with fellow writers. I could do that at any Starbucks in the city. I suppose I could’ve applied for a scholarship, but I’d missed the deadline. Any way, I didn’t get in. So, quit bringing Breadloaf up. On to Henderson Hunt Farm.
I found this little Artist in Residence program nearby, in a really pretty area, at the home of the late, great jazz artists Skitch Henderson. That sounded possible. After all, it wasn’t Breadloaf, hardly anyone knew about it. Just right for me. I stood a chance.
Sadly, the handwritten note informed me yesterday that due to the economy, the Board of Directors at the Hunt Hill Farm have discontinued the Artist in Residence program. There has to be some Artist in Residence program for me somewhere. Somewhere between Breadloaf and non-existent. I don’t know what it is. But I will research, get back to you, apply, and be one of those erudite authors sipping tea, gabbing about my genius, working ever so hard on all my works in progress. Soon. Maybe this summer. If not this summer, then next. For sure.