Friends went to Chelsea for a getaway this past weekend. I joined them Saturday afternoon for a hike around Lac Philippe. That’s right, I popped in on an unwinding retreat then popped out again. Friday night and Saturday morning, while I was home doing my usual house, family and people routines, they were relaxing in B&B luxury, chatting into the night, sipping hot drinks and wine, spurring each other to relax, having deep and meaningful conversations, sitting in silence, peaceful silence, eating breakfast slowly and thoughtfully.
As I drove into Chelsea, I was running late and didn’t quite know the building I was looking for so I was flustered when I arrived. As I walked up the stairs to their rooms, chatting hyperly, I was struck by a wall of relaxed peace. Smiles and slow hugs, not in a hurry to get anywhere, just wanting to say hello. They couldn’t see the clarity in their own eyes or their still faces.
I told them they were zen then asked if zen could be a Godly term.
We walked for two hours. In the packed down snow, following a couple sets of footprints that had gone before us. Up and down, up and down. Mostly quiet. Conversations here and there.
I followed Carla’s boots in front of me. I put my steps in her tracks and mirrored what she did up the hills. Foot turned out, step over here, in between, dig down… I listened to Robyn’s quiet, strong voice behind me. I strained to hear Annie at the front.
The wind was strong. We saw a tree fall right beside us, alongside our path (don’t tell my dad).
Up a hill, pushing to the very top. Then down again, in relaxed rest. Then up another hill, then down a steeper one, resisting the momentum, so as not to slip.
Before long we were back in the parking lot.
I wanted to stay with them longer. To linger some more.
As I drove back to Ottawa I thought of them, continuing on to soak a while longer in serenity, at the spa, long into the night. I arrived home to beautiful, practical everyday life things, knowing I had been given a couple hours of timely grace.