Packing: May 2011

I read...somewhere...about a couple of guys traveling (Africa? South America? Himalayas?) who thought they'd impress the natives by showing off their techno-cool camping gear. There was a long silence as they pulled item after item out of their back packs for display. Finally one of the natives commented to another, "They must have committed many sins to be carrying such large burdens."

With that story in mind I am packing for my retreat. I began by thinking I would put books and papers into an overnight bag and then use my larger suitcase for clothes. Quickly it became obvious that the overnight bag was insufficient for my needs. I traded it in for a cardboard file box, now stuffed with:

Seven novels: Susan brought in a nice bag of old mysteries, from which I took Josephine Tey, Helen MacInnes, Dorothy Gilman, Simeon--all little paperbacks. Add to those HOME by Marilyn Robinson and a Michael Connelly mystery that Michael enjoyed.

A couple spiritual/meditative books: Thurman's DISCIPLINES OF THE SPIRIT (and what a treat it was to see clips of an interview of Howard Thurman at an Inner Light Ministries event. Thurman's understanding of the paradoxical need for mining the particular in order to apprehend the unity of all things brought new depth to my incarnational theology), FRIENDS OF GOD--homilies by Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. I keep reminding myself that there is a library at the Ranch. Then I remember that I've seen their library. Two ought to be enough. Surely.

Bible, BCP, LESSER FEASTS AND FASTS, 365 SAINTS: Of course they undoubtedly have all these, but if I'm going to be leading morning and evening prayer everyday, I want to have my own.

THE DAILY WRITER, 365 Meditations to Cultivate a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life. (Hope springs eternal.)

The fish song book which is impossible to find online because its real title is SONGS (sooo helpful) and Fish isn't in the title at all, even though that's what everyone calls it. Unless you remember that the songs were collected by Yohann Anderson, you're lost forever in the cyber-forest unable to find a single leaf.

"Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven." -Rabindranath Tagore

Four journals: THE HERON DANCE MEDITATIONS DIARY, good for writing, sketching out ideas, making lists and admiring Roderick MacIver's beautiful watercolors. Reading Journal--titles, authors, quotes, thoughts. Two illuminated journaling/drawing spirals--one little, one big. Drawing pencils, watercolor pencils, pens, paint brush...eraser??? Did I pack an eraser?

Three writing pads: One lined--Cambridge--the best, one stationary--some people still write letters, my special pen, one little spiral that I bought at Bookworks in Aptos before they died. I thought I would use it for notes on my manuscript. It has been waiting patiently for nearly six months.

The Manuscript. Flute. Cup Warmer.

Do you think this will hold me for two and a half weeks?
Pray for me, a sinner.

Alliee +