When you combine a beautiful lakeside New England place, inspiring teachers, ridiculous amounts of woolen goodness (oh, the knits!), several hundred creative women (with a few men!), and a few very special little babies....well, the result could be nothing short of spectacular. The result, of course, is Squam.
Our time there (Annabel joined me for most of it), was magical - full of the natural beauty of the woods and lake, lessons and surprises, and friends old and new. I am grateful especially for the sweet spirit of the creators who continue to include me, and the coven of kindred Canadians who so graciously welcomed me into their fold in a sweet little cabin tucked neatly in the edge of camp, in the woods where I feel most at home. My time with Stephanie, Jen and baby Marlowe, Natalie, Megan, and Denny was a retreat within the retreat. (Though they be scared of the ticks, those Toronto gals are NOT afraid of cold water. I'm grateful for the push to be in it just as much as we possibly could have. Oh, that felt so good.)
Having a babe at my side, a babe who as it turns out - is not such a fan of strangers making eye contact - made for a bit of juggling in my days there. But like all things that first seem a challenge, it turned out to be a blessing. For Miss Annabel and I gave ourselves what I've come to think of as the Squam Sampler. Her need to be on my back and walking, combined with my terrible sense of direction ('tis true), made for a whole lot of wandering (sometimes bushwacking, ahem) in the woods. This meant that I attended not just a few classes, but passed by the doors and hung around quietly in the back of many classes - by teachers Maya Donenfeld, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Pixie Campbell, Fiona Ellis, Helene Dujardin, Ann Wood - oh, I loved everything we saw.
Looking around at all the beautiful women taking part in classes all week, I often felt moved by the amount of effort that I imagined went into each and every one of us being there. Financially, logistically, geographically, spiritually, emotionally....so very many things that could be in the way, and yet here we were, by the hundreds. In my first days transitioning back to home, I find myself wondering what everyone is doing now. How those seeds that were planted at Squam are now manifesting in their hearts, homes, families and communities. I have no doubt that they are - that more creativity and connection is taking root in our lives. For I believe it to be true that when we step out of our comfort zones and our everyday to seek connection or a deepening of skill, when we invest in ourselves and our dreams, beautiful things will grow.
Thank you, Squam!