I'm writing this from my phone on the ferry from Shaw Island to San Juan Island. These places are magical, like something out of a book I would have loved as a little girl. What a privilege and delight to not only visit such beautiful islands, but to live close enough that we can go for the weekend.
This term "babymoon" was new to me until a couple of years ago. I don't really love using it, but it is convenient shorthand for "we want to have one last long weekend, just the two of us, before Baby arrives." I think what bothers me about the purpose of many babymoons is the idea that once you add a baby to your life, you'll never have adventures again. It's like the last hurrah of youth, of "freedom," something like what bachelor and bachelorette parties are supposed to represent. I understand that our lives are changing dramatically, but it doesn't mean we will stop exploring, traveling, adventuring. Will the nature of our adventures change? The content? Sure. But I like change. I'm up for the challenge.
Anyhow, this babymoon, as I shall continue to call it, was about rest and restoration for me and Dave. Life lately, especially for Dave, has been pretty stressful, and we needed a break. Let me tell you, if you ever need a break, the San Juan Islands feel so far removed from the press of city life, though it only takes us a couple of hours to get here. Maybe it's because we have to cross the water and arrive on a different shore, but Seattle feels so, so far away right now. Happy sigh.
We've been spending the past few days at a monastery called Our Lady of the Rock on Shaw Island, which is probably the most rural (inhabited) island out here. It's a self-sustaining farm, which runs on the principles of ORA et LABORA - work and prayer. Hospitality is a big part of the ministry of this particular monastery, and they welcome guests to work on the farm and participate in their prayers during their stay.
But because the farm is self-sustaining (ie, not profit-driven), the pace of life is not frantic. Yes, there are tasks to be done and yes, the cows need to be milked twice a day and yes, crises arise, but there is a peaceful way of being that permeates each day. Yesterday I helped Mother Delecta pick zinnias for the chapel and the guesthouses while Dave and one of the interns dug out the pigpen for the new piglets that are coming in a few weeks. This morning we picked apples at a neighbor's backyard orchard. There were other tasks to be done, but no pressure to accomplish them (putting a weathervane on top of the greenhouse, castrating the newest calf, turning the compost pile, collecting rocks from the shore to further fortify the pigpen). The repeated message we heard while we were there was, "Rest." Such welcome news for both of us. And we did much resting.
A note about the flowers I picked: While Mother Delecta picked long-stemmed ones for chapel, I was looking for almost-past-their-prime blooms to cut with shorter stems for the barn and guesthouse. On a for-profit farm, I think anything picked would have to be useful to sell, and the farm inhabitants would get the leftovers. But none of these flowers are destined for farmers' markets, and so even the barn could have pockets of beauty and color in the functional, practical spaces. I love that overflowing, lavish, generous approach to life. Even the barn can be beautiful.
There are more thoughts and photos to share, maybe for the next ferry ride. For now, we are approaching Friday Harbor, so we will climb back into the car, which is filled to the top with the scent of lavender, and snack on golden cherry tomatoes that I picked yesterday, while we make our way to our next destination.