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Confronted with the Empty Nest, my friend VJ realized she needed, as she describes it, “a place to perch”! And she found it in the Smoky Mountains.

She invited our book group to gather there for our July meeting, extending it from our usual two hour sessions at Barnes & Noble to two days in her mountain home. So five of the eight of us were able to pack up all of our worries and woes and leave them behind in Atlanta for a mid-summer retreat.

We kept to our primary agenda, discussing LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL, by Thomas Wolfe, and touring his home/museum in Asheville. But rest assured a lot of other Important Stuff got packed into those delightful two days. Sharing each other’s personal stories and passionate pursuits was more entertaining than the artsy movie, LADIES IN LAVENDER, which we viewed together late one night.

A life in books is our common denominator. We swapped books, titles of books and movies, book reviews, and snatched up the latest fliers at the local independent bookstore.
But similar to the Quilting Bees of another era, we also managed to share
about “other” favorite things, as well as to unload some burdens. As it turned out, our very personal stories were interwoven into these lively discussions.

Perched together on the mountain top, gathered on VJ’s deck with coffee mugs in hand, I savored the aroma of these friends who always offer me comfort and acceptance. Including a depth of relationship which the characters in Wolfe’s novel, as well as many “characters” in my life today, searched for and never found.

Just back from that retreat and so ready to move forward . . . .

Author: Bonnie Porter

Bonnie Porter is an artist who lived in Europe and now resides in Atlanta. A part-time art teacher who paints and creates with a love of color, line and composition, drawing on inspiration from everywhere.

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