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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

Alone, at the table.

Today I am up before the sun. Sitting at the kitchen table with hot dark tea and the only sounds the last clock in the house with hands that move at every tic, and the heat coming on like muffled wind.

At this time last year I was rising in the dark in Ireland to head for the castle and the writing workshop that started with the late sunrise. It was a glorious week to live in a place softened by shadow and firelight, to be in the company of thirty some writers day in and day out. To be part of a community that tends words and the space to hear them. That honors silence and can laugh bawdily at its breaking.

Less than a month ago I spent five days at a writing retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Seventeen women, many of whom I hadn’t known before, became a community. It filled each of us, and we wrote and wrote. We all walked the land, some more than others. We sat in the sun and light and watched the bones of the earth change color, and the branches of the cottonwood trees shed their last leaves.

Two very different landscapes: one every shade of verdant green, every kind of rain, the other all in shades of reds, the arroyos dry, the sun warm enough to beg skin against it. Two very different groups of people, two very different ways to approach writing.

I left both replete, sustained and encouraged to continue my own work. And knowing I need that kind of replenishment to come back and sit alone, quietly.

Ireland December 2013

Ireland December 2013

Ghost Ranch Nov. 2014

Ghost Ranch Nov. 2014

The light just coming into the day.

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