I'm still glowing from the day. The hum of conversation, the stillness of self-reflection, the musical interludes of laughter. I step through the door at Honey Hollow Farm and enter an oasis. A safe, and sacred space. Layla, who runs the farm, and Marjorie, who organized the retreat are both bustling around in the kitchen. The buzz of a new day getting started rises into the air and blends with something that smells homey and delicious. Was I rushing in the morning to get out the door? I don't remember anymore. My thoughts are redirected and I slip into the present with a level of ease that I hadn't fully anticipated.
Marjorie is thoughtful and kind and meticulous. There's truly no detail overlooked. As each guest arrives, she greets them with genuine warmth and directs them to personalized goody bags, cozy grippy socks, hot tea, coffee and snacks. You cannot help but feel nurtured and it lowers your guard. This is a place for letting down walls - for feeling safe to do so.
I feel privileged to have been a part of this experience. This was the first time I've ever given a formal presentation on what I do as a niche photographer. Afterwards, I took my group on a nature walk through the beautiful grounds of Honey Hollow Farm. Even the chilly winter air felt nourishing as we paused by an old water pump, in a field, on a bridge and by a pond to take photographs. As one of the last speakers, my talk was informed by my experiences in two earlier sessions. I thought about how the dark points in my life, the pain, trauma, isolation and loneliness I have walked through at one point or another have all contributed to the work that I do now. It's been a long journey. One I'm still on, because, as Marjorie said, we never 'arrive'. We are always becoming.
Please follow the wonderful women who made this event possible. Each one of them is so talented, kind and beautiful inside and out.