August Retreat

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the retreat.

Still there…. the grass is growing and the wattles are out and I can see the capeweed coming out of its winter hibernation. The positive side of that is the bees will love the swathes of yellow and will feast on the pollen.

A few more trees have been planted around the labyrinth.

I’ve been nurturing some pomegranate saplings in the city garden for a couple of years and as they needed thinning out, thought that they would add to the charm of the larger labyrinth. In addition to the mini olive grove, I now have a space where I can contemplate and cast my mind back to a couple of Ancient Greek myths.

Obviously, the olives are associated with the Oracle of Delphi and it was said that the first temple was constructed out of olive branches. Then there is the story of the labyrinth with the Minotaur at the centre. With the addition of the pomegranates, I’ve added a reference to Persophene…

I’m going to leave you to conduct your own searches either online or in perhaps long forgotten books to read up on these myths and legends.

From time to time we have visitors staying and it is great to be able to share with them the serenity of the place. Accommodation is still very basic and rustic and for the most part BYO. It’s not camping, and certainly not glamping…. at least not yet…. but the ambiance around the campfire each evening certainly adds to the experience. We’ve hosted some candlelit, sit down, share dinners in the shed which have been a great success. The chairs are courtesy of the hard rubbish collection in the city and with a couple of trestle tables…… what more could you want?

Each visitor experience is different.

For the last few years I’ve hosted the BMW MCC for a “Back to Basics” weekend. We supply the wood and water and those who are interested turn up with tents, swags, caravans and campers of all types and dimensions.

The Ambassador Suite (an ancient, original 1970’s caravan) is often pressed into service. We’ve even moved the old potting shed nearby and put in another composting toilet and euphemistically called it the “en suite”.  This actually provides more options such as designating male and female toilets as well as alleviating the need to build a “drop toilet” or put in a septic system (which would use up our precious water). More on that in a later post…

This year we hosted the BMW Club a little earlier than in previous years as the local township had listed a Wildflower Walk for that weekend.  We had most of the wildflowers they were talking about on the property appear last year and I was a little concerned this year when I couldn’t find any sign of them appearing in the weeks prior to the event. Not to worry……. We had 16 people attend and looking for wildflowers was low on the list…. socializing and experiencing the outdoors was on their minds. We all forgot to wander out to the observatory and look at the stars later that evening as the bush TV (fire) captured everyone’s attention.

It was reasonably mild overnight ….no ice in the hand washing basin…. and breakfast was around the fire again…. jaffles, cups of hot tea and then trips down to the dam for the youngsters to catch some yabbies (and return to see another day) and a walk around the retreat to look for wildflowers and to chat. Most managed a walk around the labyrinths and although I’m not trained as a labyrinth facilitator, it was interesting to hear from each person who did the walk how they felt about the experience.

Most departed just before lunchtime as the clouds looked quite threatening and it was reassuring to find those who came by motorbike all made it home safely. One of the guests made a great video about his trip up there and back which I have been given permission to share.

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