photo by Donna Wynn
Well now, guess who is mighty behind in sharing and posting all that was SquamItalia! and Squam by the sea . . . hmmm. The simple (and perhaps unflattering) truth is that my suitcase is still in the living room. It sits right next to the window box I brought in from the porch whose plants I thought I might be able to save from the frost, but instead are spilling their dead leaves all over the floor and said suitcase. Pretty!
My absurd expectation that I would somehow be able to sum up these two back-to-back gatherings in a simple post is proof, yet again, of how detached I am from reality. (There's a reason I was once referred to as a 'drowsy fabulist' as it seems I may always have my head in the clouds despite my best intentions).
What I can do is begin. I can begin a place for sharing images and thoughts and experiences from these two events. If you want to know what it was like, I can tell you it was everything-- the full gamut. Both gatherings had extraordinarily gorgeous weather-- both gatherings had deep challenges. Yet, I am so heartened to know that in each circle-- whether we were on a mountain side in Italy or a beach in North Carolina-- many had the experience of connection and expansion. And, they are home now with new worlds rolling out before them.
photo by Cara Stockton
As posts, emails and photos hit my desk-- I will continue to put them up here-- so do check back if you want to enjoy the experiences vicariously. Loads of gorgeous photos are shared on Flickr: SquamItalia! here and Squam by the sea here.
Meantime, here's a bit of a smooshfest of words and images from the month of October 2012.
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(as always, click on link to read full post)
" I don’t think I fully realized how many walls I’d built up until they started crumbling. Squam magic, one beautiful person said. I believed. Everywhere I turned, there was understanding and support and love and hugs. Simply put, it was amazing."
"I flew from Michigan to Virginia to meet my three car-mates at the Norfolk International airport. I didn't know these women. We had connected online and were to ride together to our beautiful retreat site. In the beginning, I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into. But, by the end of Squam, I found out that these women, along with others, would become dear friends of mine and inspire me to explore myself deeper as an artist."
photos by Donna Wynn
"Coming back from Squam by the Sea has brought some clarity. I feel so blessed that I was able to go. I had never been to North Carolina or to a Squam event. Both fed my soul."
photo by Meri Tanaka
"A week on and the freckles are fading but the effects of my time at SquamItalia! will be with me forever. I have pictures and I have a full heart. I'm not sure I have the words. I keep writing sentences and deleting them. It's so hard to explain exactly what it was like and why it has such an impact."
"Italian Nonna welcomed us to her house, happy to teach us some of her favourite recipes. Nonno came along, and a bit after neighbour stop by. House was full, but she kept working and explaining.. and she was so happy having all of us there. We made some Caggionetti, Abruzzo’s traditional Christmas treats, and they were divine."
"SquamItalia was amazing. I almost didn’t go; I am so, so glad I did. It was unlike any other Squam experience, with the only constant the wonderful people and community that grew out of the barest of connections in only four short days."
photo by Meri Tanaka
"I’m feeling a better person today, I’m feeling I left behind a lot of stress and gained new power and energy at the beautiful trip I had in Morro d’Oro – Abruzzo. I want to thank you all the fantastic people I known at SquamItalia!"
"Squam Italia was easily one of the most precious things I’ve done in a long time. Browsing all those photos is great, because they bring back beautiful memories and it is so interesting, how differently people can see the same place through their camera." (from Ravelry)
sirens on the rocks in the Adriatic photo by Nicole Maust
"We’re in a converted monastery where Anna lives with her family, in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It’s fitting all of the rural Italian stereotypes I have in my head – a view of olive groves and vineyards, a very noisy, big, bustling family, her grandson playing accordion, everything happening at it’s own pace, on Italian time."
photo by Lynn Davies
photo by Susannah Conway
"This was the moment, when I spoke my wishes to the wind and threw a pebble into the ocean."
"A confession: After my first spring Squam in 2011, I was a bit disappointed. It was a nice knitting retreat, but not life-changing (or so I thought). Slowly, slowly the change happened and after Spring Squam this year, I could see that yes, indeed, Squam changed my life. The changes are small but they have a large impact."
"How do I put into words that I spent three days outside with my feet in the grass and my hands in acrylic colours so rich and juicy, I wanted to eat them? That I found beautiful new friends from across the planet, all awake and searching for deep connection. For a place to be fully themselves. That I sat up to the wee small hours reconnecting deeply via belly laughs and tears, with my sisters in room three. That all of this was infused by a daily fix of gelato, green olive oil drizzled over everything, and several wood-fired pizzas the size of a small car. That we lazed by the pool, got lost on Italian roads and hiked to a thousand year old monastery at sunset, through olive groves and grape vines. It really was stupidly beautiful."
"Vor Ort perfekte Bedingungen und Materialien für das Üben und Bestaunen von Jen’s und Nikole’s harmonischem Hand in Hand, ein kleines Styling-Paradies. Danke für diese gute Zeit."
"Yes, it was spectacular. It's just my words cannot do justice."
"Italy was sunshine-y and gorgeous and I was happy to discover I still remember a few Italian words and phrases (though considering I spent 10 years with an Italian boyfriend you would have thought I’d know more, but anyways…). The retreat was fabulous, as they always are when Elizabeth spins her magic, bringing together like-minded souls and inspiring teachers (Flora was truly amazing, holding the space for us all and sharing her process without being intimidating in the slightest — I bow down before her paint brushes!)."
"It was so much more than art, and these things usually are, and I have returned tired, but rejuvenated. I don't want to describe with words because I think the photos do a better job."
"To me, Squam is an experience to be felt; it is a sense of expansion. A loosening of outworn ideas, of patterns that no longer serve."
"Beauty, Magic, Kinship…"
SADEE SCHILLING ONE, TWO, THREE
"It was the first time in my life that I walked into a large group of people, not knowing a single soul, and felt like myself, felt at home. Some call it "finding your tribe," and I have to say that now I totally understand the concept. Connecting with creative soul-sisters in blog-land for the past almost-two-years has been amazing, and getting the chance to feel a similar connection with people face-to-face was sooo good for my heart!"
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