I often joke that I’m heading to Brigadoon when I go off to Berne. It’s true that there are days when the fog closes in as I head up into the hills and it genuinely feels like stepping into the mystic. So I was glad to be able to spend Halloween with my dear friend Mary and all the other friends who gather there.
As some of you know, Mary lost her husband Steve this summer in a tractor accident; as she says, it’s every farming wife’s nightmare. Steve was a remarkable man in so many ways. He also cared for the land and buildings. Consequently, Mary’s business Universal Pathways (a retreat center on their 500 acres of farmland) has been struggling without his daily attention, though many have lent a hand to fill his big shoes, chopping wood, carrying water, filling in as best we can.
We have created a Facebook page for UP and we are trying to get the word out so people know about this amazing resource. It’s a great place for retreats and for teaching any kind of intense seminars, but there’s also acres of hills, forests and streams to wander in. You can unplug completely here. And if you’re looking for a wedding in natural surroundings not too far from the Capitol region, you couldn’t do better than UP.
More gorgeous pictures here.
The gathering this week brought together friends old and new. The food is always amazing and the conversations by turns intense and very silly. I enjoyed meeting Mary’s friend Nancy whom she’s known since kindergarten and now lives in Alaska. I know it was a help to Mary to have her there, as Nancy also recently lost her husband — suddenly and violently, too (and horribly, right in front of her). How you can keep on after that, I don’t know. But these two women do with grace and hopefulness (and yes, grief and tears). I can’t begin to imagine how if feels.
Fans of ‘The Willimantic Frogs’ will be glad to hear that this tale from the long out of print chapbook is now available in the Broad Spectrum anthology from Broad Universe. It’s a free download so get it and give us a review. I’m also chatting about recent news with my fellow Broads in this month’s Broadly Speaking.