Join David LaMotte, Heather Dickens, and an extraordinary leadership team of poets, musicians, artists, thinkers, naturalists, storytellers, and dancers for a weekend of healing, art, and joy, as we find our way out of the pandemic and back into community.
The pandemic has been tough for many, and brutal for some. Nearly all of us have grown accustomed to things we never imagined growing accustomed to, and unaccustomed to things that we took entirely for granted. Many suffered personal losses of friends or family, in addition to the more general loss of a sense of stability and security. Live music, community gatherings, and even trips to the grocery store were curtailed, and many people adjusted to working online and living in a profoundly different way.
As I look closely at this moment, I find that I am longing for so much that I have missed — concerts, hugs, poetry, meals together, art, dance, but mostly just being in three-dimensional space with kind people, seeing each other’s smiles clearly, and having good conversations. Listening to folks around me, it is clear that I am not the only one. As we begin to open up again, I am drinking in these experiences, one by one, like a very thirsty man who is handed a glass of cool water. That said, it sometimes feels a little strange, and I am trying to be gentle with myself and others as we find our way back.
That’s the point of this gathering — to be nourished by beauty and art and community, to make some new friends, and to gently find our way back to each other. It may just be that we will also be able to envision new and better ways of being community, rather than returning to the old ones.
To register to join us, please call William Black Lodge at 828.669.6314, Monday through Thursday, 9AM to 2PM Eastern.
With all of that in mind, I invited some friends to join me for a weekend in the mountains in May to celebrate our re-emergence and see how much beauty and community we can conjure…
Leaders and Facilitators
David LaMotte and Heather Dickens are organizing and co-directing the retreat, and…
- Laura Hope-Gill, Poet Laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway, will share poetry.
- Yara Allen, Theomusicology and Movement Arts Co-Director for the Poor People’s Campaign, will share and lead music on Saturday night.
- Jason Nanz, Montreat’s head ranger, will lead two hikes during the weekend. Or you can hike on your own!
- Ginger Huebner will offer a hands-on community art workshop.
- Aisha Brooks-Johnson & Alonzo Johnson will lead a time of remembrance and rebirth on Sunday morning, and bring musical gifts as well.
- Heather Dickens will lead gentle yoga classes each morning.
- David LaMotte will host the weekend, offering a concert on Friday night and leading reflections throughout our time together.
Several of the leaders will be with us all weekend, to be nourished themselves, rather than just coming by to present their parts of the event.
Check-in begins on Friday, May 6, at 3PM, and the first gathering will be at 5PM.
The retreat will close on Sunday, May 8 at 1PM.
Though it may sound like a lot to fit into the weekend, there will definitely be downtime for rest, wandering, or conversation in the lodge’s rocking chairs, and each of these offerings is optional — the point of the weekend is to nourish you, so you are free to choose the things that most call to you, and spend your time in other ways when you feel so led.
Food & Lodging
Retreat attendees will be housed at the William Black Lodge in Montreat, a charming old stone lodge that is being gradually modernized under the good leadership of my long-time friend Tommy Brown. In an effort to build community, we ask that folks who are attending the retreat stay at William Black rather than commuting or finding their own lodging.
Yummy breakfasts and lunches will be provided by the William Black Lodge, and dinners will be catered. Vegetarian options will be provided at each meal, and other dietary requirements will be joyfully attended to. Though the Lodge is an older building, we will make every effort to address accessibility issues. Please let us know what your needs may be.
If folks need transportation from the Asheville airport, we are happy to pick you up, and will follow up on those details after you register.
Cost & Community Care
All food, lodging, and programming is included. With a private room, the retreat program fee, food and lodging total $875. With a shared room, they come to $725, tax included. We believe this time will enrich your life, and are extremely excited about the quality of the gathering to which we are inviting you. We also want this gift to be accessible, and know that the distribution of money in our society has little to do with our value to a community. So if the registration fee is beyond your reach, you are invited to contribute from the heart. Please consider the resources you hold, the value you believe the retreat will bring to your life and work, and your desire to support this community and the weekend’s leaders.
If you feel led to be here, but the registration fee is beyond your ability to pay at present, please contact us to discuss your needs (before calling to register) and we will work with you to look for a way to make the retreat possible, either via partial scholarship, payment plans, or other creative solutions. And if you are able to pay more to enable us to share the work with anyone regardless of ability to pay, we welcome and are grateful for your extra contribution.
To register for the retreat, please call William Black Lodge at 828.669.6314, Monday through Thursday, 9AM to 2PM Eastern. They will have several questions for you, and will offer you the option of a private room or a shared room. You may choose to pay the full registration cost when you register, or half at registration and half by September 1. If you are coming to the retreat with a friend or partner, please provide their name when you register. If you would prefer a shared room but are not planning to attend with someone you know, we will try to pair you with a compatible roomie and you can make a new friend. There is also a small cabin just behind the lodge that can accommodate several people, if some friends want to come together (please ask folks at William Black for more details when you call).
The trend lines look good at the moment in the United States, with cases decreasing each week. We are hopeful that they will be even better by May. We are watching closely for news, though, and will prioritize safety, and will follow federal and state guidelines for the sake of everyone’s health. If there is a significant spike in cases, we will of course cancel the retreat, with full refunds. With everyone’s safety in mind, we are only making the retreat available to people who are fully vaccinated, and will keep the retreat attendance to between thirty and forty people, at the most. All leaders, lodge staff and participants will be vaccinated. When you call to register, you will be asked the date of your final vaccination shot. This is part of our commitment to community care.
Spring in the Mountains
Needless to say, spring in the mountains is a pretty special time, and we are excited to have found a place on the calendar that we can offer to you. If you would like to come and join us, please do! And if you have friends who you think might like to attend, please feel free to send them this link: www.davidlamotte.com/comingaliveagain.
If you have any questions, we will be happy to hear from you, and will do what we can to provide answers.
Hope to see you in the mountains in May!
David & Heather