Wow, what a weekend we just had.
Even the drive north on small, wooded backroads into Massachusetts was special. I had traversed those roads with Mama years ago when the kids were small, so it was wonderful to be up there again. The landscape is lovely--spring green trees, rocky streams, bubbling water. We stopped a few times to admire the woods and river, watching the fly fishermen at work. It's my favorite kind of landscape; Gommie was mesmerized.
Kripalu is a retreat center nestled in the Berkshires not far from Tanglewood, the concert venue and summer home of the Boston Symphony. And it is gorgeous! It used to be the Shadowbrook estate, if I understand correctly--the remains of the stone gatehouse are visible up front (apparently, the foundation of the mansion is there, too, but I didn't go looking for it.) The setting is miraculous--mountains (or hills--I'm a flatlander) with a lake nestled in the valley, expansive lawns, lots of trees, and so much sky. Many times during the weekend, we would just sit on the terrace of the main Shadowbrook retreat center and admire the view.
|The view from our room.|
|View from the terrace.|
|Entrance to the labyrinth|
That evening, we had our first Zentangle class. We'd run into the founders, Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts and their daughters Molly and Martha on the terrace earlier and had a chance to say hi. I can't really describe what it's like to take a class with them--their stories, their humor, their rapport with each other, all of their mantras and saying of encouragement. Even though I'd taken a long seminar just a month ago, it was all fresh and interesting again.
As at the CZT seminar a month or so ago, we received lots of great items--not just pens and pencils, tortillons and tiles, but an "Anything is Possible One Stroke at a Time" bag and a brand new journal. The theme of the weekend was extending our Zentangle practice, mainly how to connect tangles to one another, "tangle to tangle." We did a pretty straightforward hollibaugh-pokeroot-crescent moon variation for the first tile.
After class, we soaked in the cool mountain air while the bright full moon blocked out most of the stars. We were tired and went to bed soon after.
This was our full day of great food, wonderful classes, beautiful views, and lots of R&R. Gommie even took a gentle yoga class while I took a long nap. We also walked the labyrinth again and this time I had something to leave in the center--one of the Zentangle bookmarks and a little piece of metallic rainbow bismuth I picked up in the shop. This walk for me was more about contentment. And I realized why I walk labyrinths: I walk labyrinths because there have been times when I couldn't.
|My tile #3|
|Tile #4--this took 2 hours!|
That evening, we attended a special optional session where we tangled another treat, a pencil case. Apparently, you can coat canvas with Mod Podge Fabric and tangle it to your heart's content with an Identi-pen and a gray Fabrico marker for shading. It was fun and came out beautifully. Gommie really likes the thicker pens we used and will probably stick with a Micron .08 instead of .01commonly used.
We ended the evening on the chilly terrace, where the moon glowed eerily through the increasing cloud cover. Another beautiful mountain night.
|Tile #5--this also took 2 hours|
Class was one Renaissance tile that took two hours to complete--with the crescent moon variation, the raspberry center, the squib petals, the perf orbs, the etching technique on the leaves, all the shading in graphite and white chalk. But, oh the results! And when we put everyone's tiles together in a class mosaic, the arches could be connected in circles or pathways. Beautiful. And a great way to end our Zentangle class.
And our visit. We opted to skip lunch, which was still an hour away, in order to get home so Gommie could spend more time with the kiddos. It was a little hard to leave the peace behind, but I know we took some of it with us.