Some of you may know that I was off last week to attend a writing conference. This is no ordinary conference. It’s a retreat, a chance to re-connect with nature, make new friends, and re-connect with old friends.
The Bear River Writers’ Conference first entered my life in 2015, and I was blown away by the wonderful feeling of being surrounded by like-minded, friendly people for five days. The conference takes place at the University of Michigan Alumni Association’s Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake. During the summer, Camp Michigania is host to Michigan Alums for weeks of family camp. The week before family camp starts, 100 writers and 10 authors/instructors invade the camp for several days of writing and camaraderie. After my first year at Bear River I would say, “It’s time for writing camp!”
This was my third year attending the Bear River Writers’ Conference. For the third year in a row I had a magical time and realized how much I missed the setting as soon as I drove around the bend and saw Walloon Lake. I love everything about it – the intense hours of writing, working hard with your fellow group members, the wonderful food in the dining hall (and soft serve ice cream), staying in a cabin, being disconnected from TV and internet most of the day, being in nature, and the list goes on. For the third year, I felt a little bit of pain in my heart as I left because I didn’t want to leave.
Upon my return home after the 6-hour drive, my cats greeted me with a lot of purring and meowing. I kept saying, “Did you guys miss me?” When they meowed in reply I was thinking they either said, “Yes! We missed you!” or “Hmm…not really…we just want you to feed us.” Well, even though I love going on little trips (and I absolutely love going to the Bear River Writers’ Conference), I also miss my cats when I’m away.
At this point, I’m carrying my positive energy I gained at Bear River this year with plans to return in 2018. It will probably hit me some time in April of 2018 how much I miss Bear River and I’ll start doing the countdown once again. I love the peace and serenity of Camp Michigania, and connecting with so many amazing writers. I’m sure all of my “cuddlers” have a place they love, too! Hopefully, this post has brought you to the place you love.
As the weather starts to warm up again here in the Midwest, people and pets are re-discovering the joy of being outside. I love seeing the dogs running around in the park near my apartment. Their body language says it all – “Yay! I get to run around and see my friends!” No more of the quick walks because it’s 20-below outside. The dogs and their humans definitely enjoy the chance to run around in the park. Sometimes, it seems, like the dogs want to get chased by their human just so they can stay in the park a little longer.
The other day I bought a new area rug. It took a while to get the living room back together again because the cats kept playing on the new rug like it was a toy. They were “attacking” the little colored spots, rolling on their back, and looking at me with gratitude for the new toy and open space. Reggie and Abby had a game of tag going as they ran around the living room, but the middle of the area rug seemed to be home base. It was funny, but I had to warn them that the coffee table was going to be returned to the space.
Between the dogs running in the park, and my cats claiming the space of the new rug, it made me miss being at my grandparents’ house during spring break. All growing up, we spent our spring break at grandma and grandpa’s house in the country. I, of course, loved visiting my grandparents, but I also loved getting out of the city for a week and having the feeling of space and freedom. It was nice to walk outside and only see tall trees instead of tall buildings. Or, at night seeing the light of the moon and a million stars, rather than the street lights and maybe one or two stars. I just love that feeling of stretching out and having a lot of space.
Sometimes I’ll go over to Lake Michigan and pretend that there aren’t a ton of high-rises behind me with a million + residents vying for space. I love city living, but I sure do love those moments when I get to claim some open space…even if it’s just for a moment.