Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 4 ~ Morning Work & Travel North to Barra De Navidad

Just another day breaking on the rooftop for yoga, followed with a playful breakfast and then onto work on our morning Mandala Exercise. Our assignment today was to work with five basic shapes, the square, the triangle, the cross, the spiral and the circle. All the shapes have a variety of meanings as well as do the position, dominance and integration of shapes. Again, the
resulting designs fascinate me, just visually, not to mention the diversity of personality & consciousness revealed. We all examine and discuss the diversity and invention displayed with the use of something so simple as an elegant circle. But, we must leave this scene (don't worry we didn't have to clean up the "process area") and pack for a day trip.

At 12 noon, our driver, Baldo, arrives with the SUV and all of us, with our painting supplies & beach necessities in our packs, step into our carriage to Barra de Navidad. Baldo is an informative, comical and charmingly warm guide. We pose questions for him from his personal history to politics to local fruit as he drives past banana plantations, roadside markets and artist sculptures.

He asks us if we'd like to tour the church at Cihautan, a city founded and dominated by women. How could us women say "no"? So we take a short side stop and he assures us it's "ok" to take photos and wander freely in this lovely sacred space.

After about a 30 minute ride, we reach Barra and finally find a parking place. Town is packed as it's Market Day here.

Our first design is to find that place with the colorful tablecloths (grief, where was THAT?) for a light lunch. After s-o-m-e wanderings (where we strolled shops with "finds" like this wall hanging), we locate the outdoor cafe and settle in for lunch. We continue to be entertained, first with Lena getting her next "Young Coconut", then the cafe owner's beautiful and mischievous son. Isn't he adorable? We finish lunch (very good, too much tho) and head to the beach.

Sketching and relaxing is our whole agenda for the afternoon. I show the ladies who want to a few quick sketching techniques I like to use in places where people don't hold still: contour drawing and gesture sketching. I'm not pleased by the contour drawing and eventually bury a potion of it with a watercolor sketch of the beach and peninsula. I love that I don't have to keep my journal perfect - I can correct or work over an area. Nobody to please but me!!

How quickly the afternoon passes and our wonderful Baldo has gotten us situated on the beach just below the restaurant, "The Sea Master" where we'd planned on going for dinner. It sits right on the beach but, since it's gotten rather windy, we'd settled inside. The colorful room was lively and got even more personal as we were serenaded by a local wandering minstrel. Dinner was yummy and it was all too soon that Baldo had gone to get the vehicle to transport us back to Manzanillo.

Our drive back to our condo is quiet, especially after our Baldo's mood saddened, finding out one of his friends was buried last week after a fatal head-on collision. The sun was setting and darkness fell over the landscape leaving a pink-orange horizon.

For our final "talking stick" meeting, we got to hear Dorian's travels across life. We'd all shared now and it set in place a very special bond ... all of us knowing such honest and personal experiences and viewpoints of oneanother. It was with some sadness that we all finish sipping our decaf-coffee from Dorian's French Press, leaving footfalls along our routes.

It was a memorable day with a hint of bittersweet. I'm realizing tomorrow is our final day of the Retreat and I'm not wanting it to end. But life continues ... and I've harvested some amazing lessons from this time and these very special women.

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