Quiet Retreat: The beauty of getting away

Yesterday, I woke up on a mountain top. 

Almost two years ago, we bought two century-old mining claims in the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest. The road accessing our property is rough, limiting travel to only four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicles.

We've been there many times with our side-by-side UTV, but only for brief scenic views or short lunch stops. Last weekend was our first time staying the night.

Shawn and I typically go camping in a self-contained trailer with all the luxuries of home, but the only shelter we can feasibly bring into our land is a large canvas tent. It had been years since we'd been tenting, so we had to remember how to judiciously pack just the basics. We pared down in every area including food, clothes, and entertainment. We only planned to be away for about twenty-four hours.

Since I have physical limitations, Shawn did all the work of loading and unloading the truck, putting up the tent, and setting up camp. A storm was blowing in, and just as we sat down to eat dinner, it started to rain. I smiled, grateful that we were sitting in the tent wearing warm clothes. 

A dry retreat.

We had limited cell service, just enough to make an emergency call or occasional text if we were standing in a certain spot in front of the tent. And that was perfectly fine with us.

An off-the-grid retreat.

While Shawn worked to get a fire going in the stove (using an ax to chop wood since the chainsaw wouldn't start), I joined my dog, Nita, on my cot. We relaxed with only the sound of rain pattering the canvas. 

A peaceful retreat.

As we prepared for sleep in the glow of the lantern, the tent filled with a comforting heat emanating from the wood stove. Shawn secured the food in the truck (we didn't want to invite any bears!), and he returned with a beautiful picture. 

A warm retreat.

The brisk morning air felt cool on my cheeks even as the sun began to warm the day. I was tucked under soft blankets, not yet ready to give up the moment.

A serene retreat.

The rain started lightly falling again after breakfast. Shawn took a nap (he had worked really hard!), and I sat at our small folding table and wrote. 

Looking out the screened door, I saw wildflowers, trees, and distant hills. The rain clouds moved on and a warm breeze drifted in. I took a deep breath and smiled. Nearly two hours passed this way.

A quiet retreat.

When we returned to our house, we resumed our daily routines and habits. We scrolled through social media, browsed our regular websites, and watched television. We enjoyed hot water and a flush toilet. Having gone without these amenities, even for a day, we savored and treasured them.

It was beautiful to get away, and it was beautiful to come home.

Where do you find quiet retreat?

How do you renew your spirit and your gratitude for daily living?


Some Doorways from my week:

  • I had a beautiful conversation with a friend this week about how God works in our lives. I told her about Doorways, and she told me about a noted theologian's advice to watch for God in the everyday experience.
  • I've been distressed by the conditions immigrants and refugees, especially children, have had to endure, and I've been wondering what I could do to help. Last week I received both an email request and a call from my church with two opportunities to provide direct, tangible support to migrants.
  • Thankfully, my recent health issues with fluid retention have finally been resolved. Last week I had the first "normal" feeling I've had for months. My healing was beautiful.


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