Last night Marie Howe gave a poetry reading. I'm a longtime fan. I still remember a commencement address she gave at the Bennington Writing Seminars some years ago, and I read an excerpt from her poem "What the Living Do" every year during yizkor (memorial) services at my shul on Yom Kippur.
Her reading was lovely -- from the serious (including the aforementioned poem, of course; and she also read one of my very favorite Jane Kenyon poems ever, "Let Evening Come") to the raucously hilarious (I can't wait until that Mary Magdalene poem is published so I can point y'all to it.)
Today may be my most densely-packed day of the week. From morning meditation to teaching all morning; to an afternoon book-signing along with Marie, Rodger, and Amy Frykholm; to teaching an evening workshop; to leading the evening meditation -- it's going to be a very full day, but a sweet one.
There's much about the experience of this retreat which feels familiar to me. Being in a temporary community of people who seek to be spiritually open is familiar to me from ALEPH. Sitting down at meal tables and talking about writing life is familiar to me from long-ago Bennington residencies.
But when I've done writing retreats in the past they've been secular, so the integration of writing and spiritual life is a new adventure. And when I've done spiritual retreats in the past they've been Jewish, so being in spiritual community also with Christians of various stripes is also a new adventure.
I'm grateful this morning for the modah ani melody running through my head; for those beloved to me who while physically distant are nonetheless in my heart; for breakfast table conversations about prayer gear and retreat centers, and for discovering more about how interconnected we all already are.