Adjö´ så lä´nge to Ragdale


Swedish for “see you soon,” or a similar informal goodbye. My goals: get to Sweden and get published by 2015. That’s a lot of words―to write and to learn. Not to mention the rejection letters, but we’re not talking about reading today!

When I first arrived at Ragdale, an artist- and writer-in-residence retreat, three weeks ago, deer tiptoed right up to the windows in the early morning, leaving silent tracks in the snow. I haven’t seen them in awhile. They are as soundless as they are poised, though, so they’ve probably been watching us slip and slosh about in the slush that welcomes in Spring. 
This final morning the birds woke me up. I’ve been writing about trees, both naked and fully decked out. The trees at Ragdale are beginning to bloom, but they’re still mostly bare-boned so if you look very carefully you can see the birds atop the tallest limbs, chirping away this morning for the first time since I’ve been here.
They must be catching up with each other. They sound so happy, they make me smile. Since they’ve only just arrived, they’re probably quieting down to begin frantically scanning the area for nest-building materials. I see they’ve got squirrels to compete with now, too. Every now and then I hear one chirping in a different tone―sounds like a mom telling the family to come where she is, she’s found a home and now she’s showing them where the twigs and sprigs and strings lie, waiting to be knit into their cozy nest before the cold rolls in tonight. I wonder if all species of moms sound the same? Aha— fodder for more words, something to round out my tree observations. Isn’t Ragdale amazing?
And, finally, here’s a path on the north side of the Ragdale grounds. The architect Shaw created it so his family could horseback ride and run out to the prairie lands at the end of the wood post fence. Can you see the beautiful golden prairie grass lighting up the back, just like a Spring promise? Soon it all will glisten with the greens and golds of springs and summers and all the secrets found at the end of paths.
A bittersweet goodbye. But I will see, hear, feel, touch and smell all that is Ragdale again soon, I hope.

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