Leaving Ragdale


Some like to opine, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” I don’t agree or disagree. Shakespeare said “(more wisely,) “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women have their exits and entrances.”  One thing is for certain, the curtain eventually comes down. Today, the cast of characters take their final bow.Ragdale Res

At the end of March, we came together as strangers bound by a single thread – the desire to immerse deeply in our work.  Some are Greek Penelopes, weaving by day and unweaving by night. Some are madly inspired knitters like Madame DeFarge who says to her husband, “Tell the wind and fire when to stop – but don’t tell me.” Sequestered in our individual garrets, the sanctified quiet encourages us to keep to our labors; we spin straw into gold. Pages of my edited manuscript pile up on the chair. Rumplestilskin, that greedy demon, is thrilled.            Chair with Papers

When the time is right, Rumplestilskin is dispatched and the work appears: a tale, a telling, a play, a poem, quiet works on paper, bold paintings on the wall, the throaty notes of a bass clarinet.  We stand amazed. We clap and laugh and gasp and wonder. We are no longer strangers.

Patricia reading 2

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the Three Fates are busy: one spins, one measures, waiting for the third to cut the thread with her sharp shears.

 All partings (such sweet sorrow) are preparation for the final act.


….because truly being here is so much; because everything here apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all. Once for each Walking to Barnousething. Just once; no more. And we too, just once. And never again. But to have been
this once, completely, even if only once:
to have been one with this earth, seems beyond undoing

Rilke  Ninth Elegy



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Ragdale Residency: Week Three

WALKING IN THE PRAIRIE  After hours of focused work, walking the linked pathways in the back prairie meadow behind Ragdale gives the senses a refreshing freedom from words. Here, as Virginia Woolf once said, “…there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” A snarl of […]

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Ragdale Residency: Week Two

The Burn In each moment the fire rages, it will burn away a hundred veils. And carry you a thousand steps toward your goal. –––– Rumi While walking toward the Barnhouse one morning last week, a strong whiff of smoke puts me on high alert. A staff member walks briskly toward the back prairie where […]

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The Writing Life

A RAGDALE RESIDENCY When I opened an email in mid-December, I felt like people probably do when they learn they’ve just won the lottery, utter shock. “Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into Ragdale’s Residency Program for the Winter/Spring Session of 2014.”  My euphoria was soon followed by a […]

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