Saturday, November 12, 2011

Writers' Conference

Last week I attended another CLASS Christian Writers Conference. It was SO good! Like last year it was held at Ghost Ranch just outside Abiquiu, New Mexico. The beautiful and isolated setting of the ranch always adds so much to an already inspiring week. CLASS does such a good job at putting on this conference. There are valuable workshops and continuing teaching labs throughout the week. The faculty are "real" people genuinely interested in our lives, our writing and helping us become better writers. The spiritual emphasis of the program is so grounding, keeping us focused on what matters the most: our relationship with God. After all, He is the reason we want to write. He has put in each of us the love of writing, the desire to "write for Him" and His purposes. It is our desire to let Him use what He has put into us, both the skill and the messages.

It was a great week. Here are a few of the photos I took.

This Cottonwood tree was stunning. I arrived on Tuesday at the Ranch and spent Wednesday alone on kind of a personal retreat. I took photos, read and journalled in the morning and wrote in the afternoon.

Ghost Ranch is nestled up to these beautiful mountains.

The buildings of Ghost Ranch run alongside and at the end of The Alfalfa Field. In the background is Pedernal Mountain, which Georgia O'Keeffe was so fond of painting from the ranch.

Thursday and Saturday were stormy days for us. We ate breakfast to a blustering snow outside the windows of the dining hall. This photo was taken on Saturday after the storm had passed over us. The dark storm clouds moved behind the mountain and the sun came out to shine brightly on the rock face. It was breathtaking.

I love this formation with all its holes and crevasses.

Last year I stayed in the Bunkhouse. The rooms were very small and bare, with a dormitory style bathroom outside and down the row. I was happy to find myself rooming again this year with the same roommate, Connie, with whom I earned my rookie merit badge by staying in the Bunkhouse. This year's accommodations were a giant step up, comparatively. Our room was so much larger. It was carpeted and we had an actual closet, bookshelves, two chairs and an end table. We had a sink in our room and we shared a semi-private bath with the room next door.  It was rustic, with a bare and worn concrete floor in the shower - but compared to last year, it was heaven. This is where we stayed last week in Poplar.

These giant poplars are in front of the Dining Hall. The Bunkhouse is seen in the background, the only buildings on that side of the Alfalfa Field.

I am so drawn to all the Adirondack chairs on the property. Our busy program kept us bustling from one workshop to the next event, leaving these chairs empty the entire week. One of the faculty and my friend, Ron, asked the insightful question of this photo:

Why are empty chairs so compelling?

Always interested in detail, and to the exceptional, I was drawn to take this photo of the turquoise chair.

Again this year I was captivated by the thousands of fallen poplar leaves.  Last year I took a photo of a heart shaped stain left by one of them on the sidewalk. This year I found an impression on a plate in the dirt. I thought the plate was made of steel but when thinking about it I can't figure out how a lightweight leaf could leave an impression in steel. It must be stained concrete or something.

I loved this bike rack loaded with fallen leaves.

And then there were the golden leaves still on a few trees. Wednesday was such a clear and sunny day I was able to get some photos of the sort I have longed to capture for quite some time.

This giant poplar was so pretty! I loved the dripping clusters of leaves.

I had such a fun time taking photos of this tree. I must have stood under it for half an hour.

Wednesday's blue sky and sun were a gift. By the end of the week, after two cold storms, this tree had lost many of it's leaves and what remained had turned brown.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!! Beautiful pictures Judi!!
    SO thankful you had another wonderful time at the conference.
    Come to think of it, I have taken several images of empty chairs. I think they just beckon us to come, rest, be still and listen.