We left Wisconsin, and the glorious sunrise over Lake Michigan, early yesterday morning. I’m not a big conference fan; this time I managed to latch on to some bronchitis bugs about halfway through, slept badly the whole time, and until yesterday let the concrete block walls of the center protect me from constantly gray, chill and rainy weather.

About par for the course for someone whose travel delight indicator usually hovers around zero. But that’s all the icky news from my grumpy bad self.

Yesterday, when I could tell the bronchitis was on its way out and the first hint of dawn promised a clear day, I hauled my wicked cough out to the split rail fence that overlooks the lake and watched for awhile as we rolled toward the sun. Spectacular reds, yellows, oranges, blues and greens splashed across the sky, and once again I regretted leaving the camera at home.

There were many wonderful events throughout the long conference days, too: catching up with friends, sharing woes and joys, a great evening of Scottish country dancing, a coyote trotting across the lawn early one morning, creative liturgies, and a wonderful sense of new possibilities arising.

Even so, I was grateful to arrive home and get a long, loving look at my own bed. Because the weather here as been uncooperative, we are in a huge planting crunch so we spent the afternoon in the garden. It’s hard work but I barely noticed my aching lungs and back. Just being on, in and with the land is healing.

The dog and cat joined us; each claimed a pile of straw mulch to settle into, watching over our efforts in companionable stillness. It was a peaceful, soothing afternoon that left us all feeling better about ourselves, our garden, and the world in general.

And I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the day nearly as much if I hadn’t gone to that conference.

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