We had a completely open, uncommitted day to play. Sigh . . .
Now what do you think we'd want to do? What a silly question!! Go PAINT.
We left our packing for later (one can always put things off in order to paint, right?) and bagged up our journals and painting materials. We head out in different directions . . . smilin' at the glistening day before us.
I head west . . . I'd been in love with these small ravines that we pass each morn on our way to the rocks where we'd done our yoga. I get all nestled at the corner of the pedestrian bridge in a spot of shade and start sketching. The blissful Saturday was a flurry with the nearby campground (the only remaining open one around the lake) and just as I start adding in watercolor, I hear a heard of children in the distance. I'm buried in pigment, merrily zig-zigging down the rocks, when I realize the boys are very near, and are using BBs to shoot chipmunks and squirrels. ARGH! I'm sitting there focusing on "acceptance" and was pretty much getting there, when, I notice the boys are aiming up at the quick lil' furry animals in the trees. And since they are down in the ravine below me, when aiming up - - they are also aiming AT ME!!! I shout down for them to move on and find targets below my range and I'm grateful they seem relatively obedient. So my vision for my first sketch is now kinda shot (sorry, no pun intended) and I stash things back into my pack. Besides I needed to find a bathroom.
After a quick visit to the Lodge, I point my paintbrush in the opposite direction, towards my favorite rocks on the lake, the Miwuk rocks. As usual, I'm delighted with the arrangements of rock, the patterns of shadows and the brilliant yellow turning foliage. I nest into a shady spot with a full view of a rocks, lake and some of that sprinkle of yellow. The warm afternoon whispers by, I can hear others over near and diving into the refreshing water. In time I can hear a class group nearby, with the teacher quizzing the group on the variety and characteristics of the various and numerous trees in this area. Shoot!! Wish I could hear better to take notes. Jean and I have been pondering what this and that tree is. HERE were all our answers!
I'd begun feeling like my dear sunny journal entry was complete and to my liking. I turned around, responding to a sound to my right and - POOF! - there was my dear friend and tandem-teacher, Jean! What a pleasant surprise! She'd completed her journal work and we commiserated with our days happenings.
I had an off the wall suggestion for closing our afternoon. So I sprung it upon poor Jean. I mean, that afternoon sun was comfortingly warm, the solar warmed rocks offered inviting resting places and the mountain lake water must be invigorating - - how about we go for a dip? She looked at me like I must be nuts. And most of us already know that to be at least partially true. But, again, I asked, "why not?" I'd heard these kids yelling back 'n forth how wonderful their "swim" was. "So, how 'bout it Jean?" She tentatively agreed to trot back, change to our suits and return to this warm sandy beach.
So we return, seeking out a shallow cove where the water could have been warmed by the sun. We poke and peek, sticking in our toes. Finally, we get brave and wade in. The water was refreshing! I dunked into my shoulders and Jean was the REAL brave one and dove in, swimming out a ways. I dog paddled along too . . . glad that we'd actually gotten brave - - and enjoyed it!
Eventually we wander back onto the beach, looking at the interesting artifacts washed up on the beach edge . . . I was inadvertently looking for a keepsake from nature. A warm breeze whispered by, and there, just up against a rock, I say a gossamer glisten. What was that!?! Gently I knelt down to find the remains of probably the wing set of a mayfly. It was a dainty set . . . and when I picked it up - SNAP! - the pair broke apart. What a perfect ending gift from Lake Alpine . . . one tiny wing for Jean and one for me. We took the remaining warm hours on the giant granite rocks, updating our journals and absorbing the final moments here.
We weave our way along the lake walkway, back to our cabin. Skipping the idea of eating out again, we just munched on leftovers in the 'frig as we reviewed the entire retreat. Going over each exercise, judging how successful we felt each was and popping in ideas/renovations for improvements for next year's retreat. It was great to do this while everything was fresh in our minds. And the part I so admired about Jean, as my Tandem-teacher, was her professionalism and willingness to honestly access our endeavor and relish thinking of better approaches/ideas! For me this review was just "icing on my cake" for this retreat!
The remainder of the evening we popped from pile to pile, packing up things for tomorrows departures. A silent sadness sat watching us chattering and working. Our amazing "Women's Journaling Retreat" was coming to an end.