Yesterday we had our staff retreat at Eberly Farms. I assumed I would post today about the retreat, considering that it was the most interesting retreat in the five years I’ve been with my current employer. We had an incredible speaker who was lively, intelligent, funny, and kept us thoroughly engaged as we discussed the results of our strength finders assessment. It was truly interesting to hear co-workers reveal their top five themes or strengths. It opened my eyes to two realities, one being that their resulting themes explained so much about their personalities, and second, that there are a handful of people I do not really know after five years, and a few I think I should know better.
It was a productive retreat. Afterward, I met my friend Joni at Granite City to discuss the day, have a cool drink and conversation. Brad arrived a short while later and we had dinner, a few cold beers, listened to some live music, and headed home around 8:00. A full day.
But what sticks in my mind is not the retreat, not the strengths, not the exercises or camaraderie. What I keep remembering is the grounds of Eberly Farm and how amazing it was to take my morning break under the trees. I sat on top of a picnic table, listening to the whinnying of horses in a distant field, the mid-morning sun warm on my feet, a book of poetry in my hand. I read Federico Garcia Lorca’s La Balada Del Agua Del Mar (Ballad of the Water of the Sea) and felt the sea spray, the taste of salt, the smell of the ocean. Federico’s poems are lyrical, descriptive, clear. While my co-workers chatted and walked the grounds, sipped coffee on the long porch deck, or leaned over the fence and gazed at the swimming pool, I lost myself in the words of this long ago poet from Spain. And it was beautiful.
It has been a very long time since I immersed myself in a book of poetry, felt the rhythm of each word sound through my soul. I believe it was the poetry of Robert Hayden that last touched me with such emotion.
The retreat was successful, the company afterward was delightful, but I can still feel the breeze against my skin, my tongue rolling against the roof of my mouth, tapping the inside of my teeth…
sonrie a lo lejos.
Dientes de espuma,
labios de cielo.
(The sea smiles from far off. Teeth of foam, lips of sky)- Federico Garcia Lorca.