Monday, January 18, 2010

Mesmerized by the rain

Click twice on the image, not the play arrow, to watch on Youtube.

It's feast or famine here in San Francisco when it comes to rain. I was really enjoying it until I remembered how hard it is on the homeless and on those who have been putting up sand bags since yesterday.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I think I'm getting somewhere

The words above probably fall in the category of "famous last words", uttered moments before one gets lost in the woods.

I just returned from a silent, contemplative retreat led by Dr. James Finley and hosted by the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, California. I actually signed up for it, didn't change my mind about it, didn't cancel it, and didn't get sick. I was present for it, mind, body and spirit, and have returned restored and refreshed in all the parts of me mentioned above. I highly recommend both the center and the speaker.

I also bought more books, right after telling myself that I would stop buying books and just check them out from the library. Now the stacks are growing around me like mushrooms: books from the library as well as new books, perhaps forty at this point, that I want to read, but don't have time to.

Who knew Danville was so beautiful, and that the hills around it held a hidden treasure such as the San Damiano Retreat Center? The Franciscans seem to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis even when it comes the natural beauty in which they make their home, as I was lucky enough to discover when I went to Assisi two years ago.

At the retreat we, the retreatants, were silent from after dinner on Friday until lunch today. Silent when we walked around, silent at meals, silent in our rooms. All around us was silent as well. I thought I would have slept even more than I do at home, but instead I found myself awake before dawn and going for walks as soon as it was light out. Heavenly.

Now all I want to do is go live as a part-time hermit with my dogs, reading all my books (hey, maybe that's why I'm hoarding books), meditating, staring into space, going for walks, and coming down from the mountain only occasionally to meet with a few choice friends. And to shop at Ross.

I've got the books; all I need is the mountain.

I leave you with more images of the San Damiano Retreat Center. Click on any photo to enlarge it.