Today I want to tell you about my weekend up in the Sierra.
My friend Wendy Ward, a wonderful artist (you can find more about her here and here), was teaching a painting class there - a mermaid painting class. I like mermaids, and I like Wendy. I hadn't seen her for four years and I missed her. So rather spontaneously I decided to sign up, drive those three hours to the Sierra, take the class and spend the rest of the weekend with Wendy. I was looking forward to this time just for myself very much.
Seeing Wendy again was wonderful! It didn't feel like not seeing each other for four years - it felt more like I had just talked to her the day before. We pretty much took off where we left all those years ago.
She is an exceptional art instructor. We were eight women with different levels of painting experience. It didn't matter - Wendy brought us all together and we painted for six hours and created our mermaids. She taught me a new technique which I loved.
Our table looked quite chaotic during class - we were painting like crazy!
By the end of class, each of us had her very own unique mermaid. It was interesting to see how different each mermaid was.
Wendy and I with my mermaid
After class, two other friends of Wendy - J. and E. - and myself went up into the mountains to stay the night with Wendy in her cabin.
It was a lovely drive up there, mainly through endless forest, along narrow winding, sometimes unpaved, roads with marvelous views over an amazingly blue lake, until we finally arrived at the cabin, deep in the woods. When I got out of the car, the scent of the forest hit me right on - absolutely beautiful. Besides, it was completely quiet. Heaven.
The welcome committee was expecting us!
The cabin was lovely, with a beautiful deck, where the sun spilled his warm evening light over the colorful chairs. I loved the reddish shade of the cabin wood - just look how lovely it glows in the golden light.
The evening turned out the way it should - with wine, good food, and even better conversation. We laughed a lot, but we also had some very serious topics - it was a good mix. It certainly wasn't boring - I felt that time was flying by, and suddenly we realized that it was pretty late and we better went to bed. I slept up in the loft, right at the open window - as I already mentioned, it was completely quiet. Incredible! Listening to the silence eventually lulled me into sleep....
... from which I woke up by the first rays of the sun. I felt completely refreshed.
We had a lovely breakfast after which J. and E. left while I still stayed for a few hours. Wendy and I took a walk in the woods, talking, talking, talking. We never ran out of something to say - there were so many interesting topics. Later, we sat on the deck, still talking. Deep talking, the kind of talk that really touches your soul. The kind of talk during which suddenly things become clear.
Fact is, I had the feeling that I was not living fully (yes, we talked a lot about feeling alive and vital), that there was no real vitality. I was wondering where that had gone. I also realized that I was strong, but that somewhere along the way this strong woman went into hiding. I wondered when this happened. I want to have her back.
I think this weekend was more than just seeing a friend, taking a class and having a great time in good company. It was the beginning of claiming back that strong woman, of letting go of all the guilt I often feel. It is getting my self back. I had felt all this before without being able to name it. When I saw Wendy's class announcement, something was calling me - why else would I drive three hours through the heat of the Central Valley to attend a class? I knew that I could talk to Wendy, that it would never be superficial, that we would go deep - and I knew that I needed it.
Saying good-bye was difficult. I could have stayed so much longer.
But I felt good during my drive home. I had opted not to take the interstate but drive along smaller roads, listening to some DVDs and singing along to the music as loud as I could. It was liberating.
This weekend will stay with my for a long time and still nourish me for many days.
I found this hard to write - because of the language. These things can be so difficult to write in a foreign language. I wanted to write from the heart, about my feelings, about what was really going on - and I was limited by the words that should come easy.