Each Dec 26, I drive four hours north of Portland beyond Seattle to a tiny village called Mukilteo, where I catch the ferry for Whidbey Island and a heavenly retreat center called Aldermarsh. I started coming to writing workshops here in 2002, but for the last 9 years, I've brought my friends to two annual retreats: one over New Year's and one over the 4th of July. I didn't pick the times myself. The retreat center did, because these are periods when the staff are on vacation. This means we can come and stay by ourselves, care for ourselves, and pay a discounted rate.
But the timing is perfect. We come here where it is really dark in the winter (daylight is 8 to 4) and really light in the summer (dark is 10 to 4). We experience the deep reflection of the dark and the wide expansion of the light. I love them both, but I am particularly drawn to this dark time and its support of my writing and thinking.
I am deep in the drafting of my book on sugar addiction and having 8 full days of quiet and beauty and long walks and good food and peaceful country sleep is a huge gift. Something in me gets restored coming here, and my creative and spiritual lives deepen. I am so grateful.