Today is retreat day at the Monastery, a day to slow down and take stock of where you are and where you are going. One of my favorite things to do on retreat day if the weather is nice is walk the property (if the weather is not nice I nap but that’s another story). Today was beautiful-sunny and 56 degrees-so I grabbed my camera and started walking. The monastery sits on 24 acres of mostly up on what was an old strip job. Our buildings and garden are on two shelves and there are two more above us-that would be the “mostly up”-that are covered in trees, saplings and brambles, mostly multi-flora roses.


Walking the road of the Dwelling Place Monastery.

As I walked down the road, I saw bramble bushes covered in white flowers and remembered, “Blackberry Winter”. It seems that here in eastern KY the people have nicknamed the weather patterns by whatever flowering tree or bush is in bloom when the temperature drops and they are sequential. It goes redbud, dogwood and blackberry. There are some folks who add on a couple more but in my mind once you get to blackberry why go any further?

We have two places on our property that have accessible berry patches and others that are harder to get to so we leave them to the critters, though when its berry picking time we do have to fight for our fair share, especially from the birds. But for now, there is peace on the mountain, blooms on the blackberry vines and all’s well with the world. As it should be on retreat day.


One of the blackberry thickets at the Dwelling Place Monastery.