There were low points. I had to borrow a wheelchair one weekend in order to get around the house to finish a paper.
I haven't hiked the Grand Canyon yet. But I did make it to the Blue Hole this weekend.
Laity Lodge is a wonderful retreat center provided by the Foundation for Laity Renewal of the H. E. Butt Foundation. It's in the Frio Canyon on some gorgeous acreage. It's a magical place where each ringing of a bell means something wonderful is about to happen. You can hear great speakers like Madeleine L'Engle, Eugene Peterson, and Frederick Dale Bruner talk in a great hall overlooking the river. Food, delicious food like you dream of, just appears without any work or thought on your part. A concert might be held down in the Cody Center. Talk with the newest members of your extended family. You invariably adopt other retreatants. Or it might be time to relax in one of the hammocks and dream of your best years ahead.
I have long been a retreatant at Laity Lodge and have held many poetry workshops for the participants. During the dark times of my illness, I didn't get up there, but I did hold a workshop in April of 2011, on our 29th wedding anniversary. It was a strange year since that hospital anniversary. I still used my cane some in April, so I didn't hike any. In past years, I didn't often get to go out for a hike since leisure time is when I teach workshops. I had always intended to go to the Blue Hole, a pristine clear deep swimming hole. It's only 20 minutes away. In April 2011, I looked out from the Great Hall balcony over the river toward blue hole and wondered if I would every be strong enough to get there.
It wasn't a pretty thing to behold, my walking. Only my wonderful husband Adrian was there to see the worst of it. After crossing under the dam and a short flat walk by the river, you round the bend near where the road goes up around a new Family Camp that is under construction.
And it goes up.