Ontario has had one of the oddest winters I can remember. Big snow storms crippled the city of Toronto, followed by balmy days of sunshine that erased any evidence of winter. We even had enough freezing rain to practice those triple salchows.
It was anyone's guess if my winter retreat was going to feel like winter at all. My fire-making skills were itching to make an appearance.
This past weekend was my eighth retreat. That's a lucky number in the Chinese culture. Because it sounds like the word for "prosper". It's a total stretch: eight is pronounced "baat" in Cantonese. Wealthy is pronounced "faat". Apparently that is close enough to make eight the lucky number for getting rich. You'd think being fat would be luckier. But I don't make the rules.
My last retreat in September was filled with drama. I go back and read about it when I want a little chuckle. I found myself more frantic than usual and despite successfully cooking for a crowd and sewing myself an entire dress, I vowed to host my next retreat with the pace of a focussed turtle: slow and steady.
I brought only my superstar quilt to hand-sew in front of Sense and Sensibility when the dishes were done and the kitchen was in order on Saturday night. All weekend, I had so much time to putter around the kitchen preparing meals with sloth-like precision. I peeled root vegetables like a boss. I diced them all up into organized bowls. The French get fancy and call it "mise en place". I sure put them in their place. I was slow, lazy, chatty, and oh-so-proud of my blazing fire in the adjacent room.
I loved it. My six guests were such great company. I had time to chat with them, admire their projects, play with my chalkboard, and get a meal on the table that I was so proud to serve to them. I was calm and happy. Much like the turtles in Finding Nemo -- but only a touch; I endeavour to be so cool.
I woke up Sunday morning to a perfect dusting of snow on the farm. Our winter retreat was near perfection. Perhaps it's all about luck. And getting fat -- I mean, "faat".