Yesterday our team of 25 or so northern managers and area managers, gathered in Dwight; in the beautiful Lake of Bays area, not far from Algonquin Provincial Park. We stayed overnight, then had a one day working retreat.
It was a weary group that gathered. Getting away isn't easy, but once there, you could see people unwind and relax.
Last night there was a camp fire on the shore. I hear there was a guitar and laughter. Some sank gratefully into bed early. I retreated to my room for precious alone time. To some a retreat means people--to me a retreat means...retreat--although I love people too.
Before breakfast Terry ran 6 kilometers--she's training for a half marathon. Gloria walked and Susan sat out on the dock watching the mist roll in from the lake.
I sat on the little balcony outside the cabin room and listened.
I heard Terry return from her run with a tired sigh. A few minutes later, down below, I heard her banging her running shoes together to loosen the mud from their soles.
There was a soft riffling of pine branches as a breeze passed through the tree tops, and the cawing of a crow.
"If Tiffany-Amber was here," I thought, "She would be answering the crow with a cry from somewhere deep within her child chest." She has an amazing gift of mimicking of bird calls--or "becoming" an animal of any kind.
The breeze again caught the pine needles and a sound like the applause of tiny hands rose to a brief crescendo, then dropped again as if led by some unseen conductor.
A lone silver birch stood tall and spindly and white among the evergreens, her topmost leaves, quivering green discs, trembling like jade beads.
I collapsed into helpless fits of laughter at least twice. We had a group photo taken and there we stand, at the back,Terry and Lesley-Ann and I, laughing uncontrollably. The three of us are to the right of Greg in the middle of the back row--Terry having just reminded me of a funny moment when another group photo had been taken.
On that occasion, because she is tall, someone had suggested she crouch down a bit, so as not to block the person behind. We all assumed that the shot would be head and shoulders of the group. It was not to be; it was a full length shot, with Terry--knees bent oddly. but nicely even in height with everyone else.
Renewal and refreshment--I am so grateful for them. I feel "back" in more ways than one.
John 4:14 (New International Version)
14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."