Steel & magnolias.
It’s been quiet over here lately. Between recuperating from whatever it was that was ailing me, a business trip back to the Twin Cities and then trying to recover from both of those, I’ve been…beat.
More than that though, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’ll be getting on an airplane at 6:00am this Wednesday and heading towards Orcas Island, WA for Write Doe Bay. I had looked longingly at the Write offering a while ago when Tammi Salas, an artist that I admire for so many reasons, announced she’d be a guest teacher this cycle. But between the cost of the workshop itself and the transatlantic travel it’d require, it just wasn’t within reach this year. Until the morning of the 20th that is.
I woke up ridiculously early again thanks to jet lag and broke all my protocols of no lights, no phone, etc. But scrolling paid off for the first (and probably last) time ever: Tammi had shared a post from Write announcing a full-ride scholarship contest. All I had to do was write a one-page essay on why Write was right for me and how I thought it would impact my creative path. And so I wrote my heart onto the page. Because what else does one do at 3:00am when the quiet, still voice tells you to? I took a short nap after I was done, did one last proofread and then sent it off and let it go. I even went so far as to tell a few people I had applied but knew it was a long shot.
On the the 23rd, just a few hours after the application window had closed, I received an email letting me know that the spot was mine. I hadn’t even told Joe I had applied. (Telling him any earlier would have been admitting how much I wanted it.)
I’m still not entirely sure if I asked him or told him that I wanted/needed to purchase a BRU-SEA ticket less than two weeks prior to travel. I am sure, however, that I’ve never been more glad that the route isn’t one of the more insanely priced ones.
For the last week, I’ve been making travel arrangements but mostly just sitting quietly. Filled with gratitude for the chance to join other writers and artists in community for a 4 day retreat. In anticipation for the magic to come. And preparing for the pilgrimage ahead of me — this will be a journey of mind, body and spirit and I promised in my essay to show up with fearlessness, tenacity and authenticity.
I’ve also been fighting one hell of a writer’s block that only seems to get worse as the days tick down until I need to print out 8 copies of my piece for the small group workshop. I’ve been trying to shake off the fear that what I have to bring won’t stack up.
I was glad when Joe suggested that maybe we shouldn’t squander away the sunshine yesterday and that perhaps getting a little nature therapy was exactly what I needed. (I’ve learned enough to know that he’s usually right when it comes to these things.)
Joe’s an all-year rider if the conditions allow but I’m a wuss who’s only getting on the back of the bike if the sun’s mostly shining and it’s not too cold. Yesterday’s temps and my desire to finally christen my usually-$200-but-I-scored-for-$50 moto boots were enough to let him convince me that taking the motorcycle to Meise was the way to go.
The short 20 minute ride was just the right length to warm back up for riding season, but the real treat was pulling out our cameras and checking out all the magnolias in full bloom at the Botanic Garden.
We don’t get out to the garden nearly as much as we should — especially because it’s “free” for us on our MuseumPass. I’m looking forward to changing that this year and I’m excited to watch it move through the growing season.
I know enough these days to listen when somebody suggests something that’ll be good for me. A little nature therapy seems to be exactly what I needed. I might even be ready to catch that plane on Wednesday morning…
If You Go: Meise Botanic Garden
* The garden is located just outside the Brussels ring in Meise. While it’s possible to take public transit (De Lijn bus), it’s much, much easier to drive (especially with free parking).
* Don’t forget to use your MuseumPass if you have (and don’t forget to get a MuseumPass if you don’t!)
* Go for the plants or the art. Plenty of sculptures dot the grounds and the castle holds rotating art exhibits.