Sunday, October 28, 2007
Last year at this time I was in a cottage in the woods on Whidbey Island, Washington, listening to the owl in the pines, breathing in the mist, allowing myself to experience the gift of solitude. There are so many ways I carry Hedgebrook in my heart. A picture of Cedar Cottage with my bags on the porch is on my computer desktop. It's early morning and the sky is still dark, and I'm waiting for Jacinda to give me a ride to the gas station so I can emerge from this time-warp and re-enter the world of airport shuttles and plane connections. I pull this picture up when I need breathing room. Just looking at it takes me back to a space of damp leaves and mist, hurrying by flashlight to a dinner that someone has prepared with loving hands, to conversations about books and writing and all of our lives. Hedgebrook gave me the courage to begin work on a story of overlapping geographies. Slow as I am the work is still in progress, but I know it will be completed in its own time. I don't think I have fully explored for myself what the experience, or the story, really mean to me but I find that I can enter that "inner space" when I need to, when either my writing or my life threaten to spiral away. Gloria Steinem said, "Hedgebrook isn't a retreat. It's an advance." It was for me.