Saturday, February 19, 2011

RETREAT! Retreat. Retreat.

Retreat. Now there's a word that loses its meaning quickly upon repeat.

This weekend I am blessed to be among friends and fellow fabric hoarders at a once-yearly mystery quilting bonanza. I have chosen my fourteen (so not a typo) fabrics at the store and from my vast stash. I have wiped down various coffee spills from my sewing machine cover and I have assembled my seam ripper, that most important of portable quilting paraphernalia, and other ephemera necessary for cutting little bits of cloth and re-assembling them into something near art.
I am likely visiting quietly over and under and around the hum of a dozen sewing machines. At my table are moms and grandmoms and young career women and starving artists. We all have some things in common and it is not necessarily what you might think. Our color sense and our politics vary immensely. Our ages range from 25 to 80.
Our commonality, then? We are retreating. We are purposing, if you will allow that dubious verb, to give ourselves a weekend of beauty and productivity. We are breathing in and out and it is a meditation, this endless stitching while barely remembering to sip at a cup of tea.
In my preparations for the retreat I found myself frantic. Go figure. Instructions for the baby. Meal planning and preparation for the family. Last-minute laundering, mopping, swishing and swiping in (vain?) hope of returning to somewhere to sit, somewhere to lay my sewing machine down.
I even emailed my husband to say that the getting ready phase could be crazy, because I knew I'd be relaxed at some certain point. When we leave on vacation I'm usually similarly frantic with the packing and the pressure until we are seated, mocha in one hand and novel in another. Then comes the whoosh of relaxation, of ease. Nothing to be done! It's already done! I am without duties!
Not really sure where I'm going here? ME neither. It's just that, when I was getting ready for the quilting retreat, I kept hearing that Civil War movie cry of "RETREAT" in my head. There was a general chaos and sense of near-danger in the urgency of the moment. And yet now? I'm retreated. I'm out of the battle zone (yikes... not that my home is that!) and in another kind of zone.
Hope to show you some quilt squares, maybe a finished top, when I return. And I hope your weekend is restful. I hope you experience your own retreat, without, possibly, the frantic trampling out.

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