Retreat 2011 – Blue Cloud

This came to me in an email from Ode. He sent it shortly after the retreat. I made just a few edits.
Tom gave me a disc with pictures. Follow this link to see them in a slide presentation.

The first night we got there, we got familiar with the place again, and met upstairs in the back, after dinner and read some poems, and generally got grounded in being there. On Friday we did an all-day check in. It took that long, everyone had changes, stories, depressions, knees, events to share. The few things that stand out at Brother Frank is up for Big Brother of the Year for Minnesota and will be entered in the nationals too. Charles BE is moving forward on many fronts like writing a new book, Sierra Club and MIA, we asked him where he gets all his energy from. Scott brought his drums and played a piece of music he wrote, a rap, and later he had Warren play guitar and he sang us a lullaby, very sweet.

The next day, Jimmy made a presentation of his new art, and a new direction, a retrospective of his work, he brought a long one of his new pieces, and it is really good, maybe some of the best Jimmy stuff I have seen. Warren played us some new tunes he is working on. I shut down the lights, asked people to shut their eyes and meditate on this–then played Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue—the opening cut, 1959, considered the finest jazz ever recorded, largest selling jazz cd ever, and largest selling jazz album every year since 1959, this is an amazing piece of music. Then I played another piece, by John Coltrane called A Love Supreme, dedicated to God. Very moving. We took a long break for lunch, it was snowing like crazy –maybe 8 inches of snow fell—, many of the woollies went out snow shoeing.  Scott sent this picture from one of his snow shoeing journeys.

Charlie BE, then read the Jacob story from Genesis. Then asked us to pick a character from the reading and tell me how you feel. “I am Issac and I feel like my brother……: I am Jacob and I feel guilty and…….. I am Rebeca, or I am Sarah, or I am Abraham and I feel old and can’t see, and my wife is tricking me up…..”

Then asked us why is this 8000 year old story in the Bible and Torah, what is the point of the story. Interesting how the evening took off on this.

Brother Michael sat down wit us and taught us two chants and canons, worked with us on harmonies, we have never sounded so good. He is a fun guy to work with. Father Tom also came and sat in with us for awhile. The only Woolly presentations were Jimmies, me, Scott’s songs, and Charlies Jacob play. But that seemed to be okay. Our time with each other is always rich. Many of us went to 7am mass, and evening mass, I had communion there one afternoon.

The morning we left, after breakfast, we all got to the parking lot, and Charlie H locked his keys in his running car. So Stefan broke his back window to get in. We talked about changing the next retreat to early October, this winter things with blizzards, below zero is for younger cats.

One more thing Charles H suggested that we change the next 10 years and have one topic, ‘The Art of Aging.” I like it, not everyone agreed, but it certainly sounded right to me. I brought a long a picture of you and put on the table in front of us, so you could vote on the presidential matters.

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