Thursday, June 17, 2010

Retreat in the Summer

Konrad is a great group retreat director, as his reflections are personal, solid, reflective, and yet creative and real.

One of the great experiences of retreat days is the opportunity to "see" the world around us right here at home. The Mount grounds are absolutely bursting with flowers, birds and other early summer life. Everyone is walking the paths around the building, into the woods, and down to the lake.

Another unique experience happens at night--if you sleep with your windows open a little. Just one mile south of us are three train tracks that traverse the city of Erie. They mostly service freight trains, but the Amtrak line runs through here, too, on its way to and from New York and Chicago. The low sounds of the trains in the late evenings and early mornings easily travel through the air to our place. Hearing them is a real small town, Norman Rockwell experience that many of our guests comment on: "Did I hear the sound of trains last night?" "Yes," we answer with a smile.

There is a fourth set of tracks there, also. This set is only about three miles long and extends from the local General Electric plant right out to our area. Our GE plant specializes in the production of locomotives and this is their test track. All year long we see brand new shiny locomotives going back and forth on this rail--all newly painted and often easily identifiable by country symbols and names. Here's one I saw this week. As I said, very Norman Rockwell-ish.