I am struggling with what to call my trip this past weekend. With what to "label" it. Not that it needs a label, it just might make it easier to describe.
I went to a weekend intensive at Diana's Grove, in Bunker, Missouri... I am "attending" the year long Mystery School... and I didn't think I would be able to actually GO there until the fall... then my husband got this amazing generosity streak, and I found myself with the ability to go. (AND he says I can go back... maybe even before I planned too... so I am really excited about that!)
Anyway... I suppose I will start at the beginning... and I will focus more on the free time I had while I was there, and the dog rescue they also run in this journal... I will leave the spiritual stuff for my locked journal...
I make it no secret that I am absolutely petrified to fly. Out of everything... meeting total strangers face to face, going to a totally new place way outside my comfort zone... the thing that truly had me (and my sincere social anxiety problems) the most freaked, was anticipating the plane ride there. (And home.)
So, 3 am on Friday rolls around, and I just stuck myself on "auto-pilot" trying very hard to NOT think about the plane I was about to board, and going through the motions... getting my husband up, having my brother come upstairs to be close to the kids while they slept, and all of that fun stuff. Once I was sitting there on the plane, and we were on the runway, and it was way too late to freak... THAT is when my real fear hit me... and my heart and my stomach switched places.
But you know what? It wasn't that bad. I remembered from my last plane ride it had been so horrible, and constantly bumpy... and I was scared shitless the entire time. I held onto my chair good and tight for the entire 2 hour trip to Midway where my connection was, don't get me wrong... but it really wasn't that bad. I did have this extra fear element come over me when I realized, we were landing in snow. A light flurry only, but still... snow. But everything went ok... and clearly, I got my feet back onto the ground safe and sound. The flight from there to St. Louis was just as uneventful.
Then I had to meet someone I had never even seen before - but had spoken too plenty, and head off on a 3 hour drive. We drove through St. James, and through Rolla, and kept on going... through Salem, and finally, into Bunker. On their website they say "when the pavement ends, you are almost there" - and they are not kidding! We had over a mile long trek down a dirt road, past a "low water bridge" and then finally, through the gates of Diana's Grove.
The first thing you notice when you get there are the dogs. At least 6 or 7 greet the cars on the hill... and when you leave the car, they escort you into the main house, where another 4 or so lazy dogs are snoozing on their various fluffy doggie beds. They are all so friendly and loving. The entire atmosphere there makes you just feel totally, and completely at home.
I found my name tag.. and was there a little early for the intensive to begin, so I was asked "do you like dogs, puppies?" - Which my answer was of COURSE I do... "wonderful, we have a job for you! These little guys need some attention!" And I was led into the "great room" where I was greeted with 6 snoozing balls of fur! They were the newest additions at the Grove, just 6 weeks old, and them and their mother had just been brought in the day before. So... I spent the entire afternoon, just falling in love with these puppies! (You can see where this is going, right?) I knew though, if I told my husband about it, he would tell me the same thing I had told him a month or so prior when he called to ask about bringing a dog home: "are you CRAZY?!?"
Anyway... at about 4:30 things for the weekend really got going... we had our meet and greet, and I was finally able to put some faces to names, and email names I have been seeing for months!
The entire evening was just amazing. Everyone just seemed to naturally do everything they could to make everyone feel comfortable...
And the land.. it is just so gorgeous. When it was time to walk back to my cabin that night... I went ahead of the others who were sharing the bunk room with me... and it was a bit of a walk... (the cabins are set up with bunk beds, so there were 6 beds total in my cabin, 3 bunks in all) as I walked down the (rather steep) hill... I heard something behind me. Here I am, very alone, on the edge of a forest, at night, with a tiny flashlight... I spun around... and there was one of the dogs. (Phew!) The mother of the puppies actually. And as I walked, she walked with me... by the time I reached my cabin, I had quite a few furry escorts. I suppose they were just making sure I got "home" safe and sound. Even my furry distractions though, did not stop me from noticing the stars. I could literally see all of them. Billions of stars. There was NO big city light pollution... no street lamps in the way... I took a moment and turned off my flashlight... gave my eyes time to adjust... and just took it all in.
Billions of stars, right there before my eyes. It was really amazing. On just an average night, when there is no meteor shower or anything, there are still several shooting stars visible an hour out there. It was just amazing.
Even being in a strange place... I was able to fall asleep rather fast. Of course, that could have had something to do with being up since 3 am, and all the traveling, AND the time difference... but with that, my first day there was over.
And so this does not take up pages and pages of space, I will stop here for now... and continue on in another entry!