“Looking at the animal portraits year after year shows us how a healthy soul responds to encroaching darkness. And there’s more than one response… They take in the threat of dark and cold, and they adapt in amazing and ingenious ways. They shape themselves to life as it is given.” Gayle Boss, All Creation Waits
The painted turtle encased in warm muck at the bottom of the pond. The black bear shrinking in her den. Striped skunks enfolded in one another. These beautiful creatures instinctively know what to do as the days shorten and the air grows cold. We too are naturally inclined to hibernate and rest during winter as we await Spring’s arrival, but that instinct has been suppressed over time. The advent of the electric lights extended our days, furnaces keep us warm, and the glorification of productivity renders naps a rare and guilty pleasure. Even “Snow Days” have become a rare treat for school children with the insistence of online learning when Mother Nature gifts us with a winter spectacle.
This counter-cultural retreat will honor and invite our inherent desire for the natural rhythm of nature, to hibernate and wait, to embrace the darkness, adapt to the cold, and allow our body, mind, and spirit to emerge with the miracle of a new beginning. Together we will honor our Creator and gently ponder what ancient wisdom Creation has to offer to us about waiting and emerging in amazing and ingenious ways.
The stories and guidance of our animal friends will lead retreatants into contemplative spiritual practices, periods of silence and personal reflection time, and rest, as well as opportunities to share and deepen with one another. Guests may wish to take short walks on our beautiful grounds to further enjoy the winter landscape.
Lodging room check-in begins at 4pm and then dinner is served at 6pm. The retreat will begin after dinner.
Lorie Conway is an experienced spiritual director, retreat facilitator and small group leader. Her education includes a masters in Religion from Lancaster Theological Seminary, a certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Kairos School of Spiritual Formation, and completion of the Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats program with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.