Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gifts from the sea*

I am writing this on a personal retreat. Hal and I are staying at the Captain’s Cabin, part of Twin Rocks Friends Camp in Rockaway, Oregon. This place is a gift, and this retreat so far has been full of gifts. Here are some of them.

--We drove up on Tuesday night, after a day of work and meetings. Because of flooding, the main highway to Tillamook was closed and we had to travel north, way off the usual route, causing us to arrive at 1:00 a.m. But the forest we traveled through in the dark was vast, mysterious and beautiful, even at night. At one point, as we slowed down to go through a small town, we saw deer on the road ahead of us and were able to stop in time. But as we stopped, we realized that these huge animals immediately in front of us were not deer, but elk. And that there were not just two of them. We had driven into the middle of a herd of about 20 elk. Most of them were on either side of the road; apparently the herd was in the process of crossing when we came upon them. They didn’t linger long to let us admire them, of course, and within probably 10 seconds, they were gone. But what a privilege and joy to be in their midst, however briefly. We carried a sense of awe with us for the rest of the trip.

--Yesterday morning, well before dawn, we walked the beach under a clear sky brightened by a full moon. The moon was setting over the sea, and as we walked, the path of light over the water followed us. With still a few hours before the winter sun would crest the hills, the sands shone in the moon light. Overhead, only a few stars managed to shine through.

--A sunny day in January is always a gift, but enjoying it at the beach is a bonus we don’t take lightly.

--I found the perfect walking stick, sturdy, smoothed by the waves, and just the right length.

--Dragons! The shores were populated by driftwood dragons, some of them vanquished, others in repose, waiting for the next challenge.

--More heart-rocks for my silly collection.

--A sunset whose swirling colors clearly proclaimed the glory of God.

--Time to work (we called this a “working retreat,” not a vacation), pray, talk, read, watch movies, sleep-in. Yes.

--This cabin itself. The Captain’s Cabin was a gift to Twin Rocks many years ago, but a gift with a stipulation. This small house overlooking the beach is to be used primarily by pastors and missionaries, at an economical rate that makes it possible.

 I am grateful and I feel renewed in spirit, ready to go home and face the work I have been given. I guess that’s what retreats are supposed to do.

(*Thanks to Anne Morrow Lindberg for the title)

More monsters


  1. Breath-taking and breath-giving. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  2. Thanks for this whimsical post. I love your "monsters" and the setting moon on the beach is awesome. I agree, that place is a wonderful gift.
    Marcile Crandall