The “Retreta”

Dear Friends,

A lovely Sunday greets us. Let’s get out early and move the muscles that have been neglected or forgotten.

I met a friend (Paul) for coffee yesterday afternoon. We went to the recently opened Gelly’s Gelatería, across the street from our
lovely central park. As we visited and talked about the many subjects of interest to us both, I was at once absorbed in the conversation and aware of the nuances that would make this meeting one to remember. I found myself observing the park from an entirely different perspective, resulting in an vastly different experience of it. I made a mental note to come out for coffee more often, if only to break away from the repetitiveness of my own company and be inspired to
think in new ways.

Our central park is a very beautiful setting for the established activities that are held there during the year. It has saddened me
in recent years to see how empty the park becomes when nighttime falls. Well, not empty; occupied by a different crowd. An early jogger will no doubt encounter the empty beer cans, broken bottles and sleeping homeless that have alarmingly become more common in our small town. Those of us who walk across the park during the day will see the ever-smiling park protector, Rolando, as he cheerfully rakes the leaves, waters the grass and discards the garbage so that our stroll can be enjoyable. Rolando never complains but I imagine Monday mornings must be particularly challenging.

Rolando entertained me recently by recounting the lost tradition of the ‘retreta’ in Atenas. The ‘retreta’ has been described as
a regularly-scheduled Sunday event. People gathered in the park for about an hour (sometimes after evening Mass) to listen to music
provided by local groups. It was a wholesome opportunity for courtship to begin and many marriages resulted from these ‘retretas’. No one has been able to tell me when or why this lovely practice ended. Paul and I agree that it would be a lovely tradition to revive, an almost effortless and inexpensive way for the community to ‘police’ and take back an area our taxes pay to maintain.

Yesterday as I was getting ready to retire for the night, I remarked to my husband that I had not been as productive as I had thought I would be when I first woke up in the morning. He asked me in a straightforward manner whether or not I had had a good day. My honest answer, delivered with a big smile and no elaboration, came quickly:
“I had a great day.” “Well then,” he answered simply, “that’s what counts.”

I slept soundly, undisturbed by dreams or noises from the outside world. I am now enjoying my coffee (from Atenas, naturally) while gazing at the different hues of nature’s palette. I am noticing that the window I look through needs a good cleaning. Perhaps I’ll take care of that later. In this moment, I will just enjoy the beauty presented to me. I read recently that it is crucial to “be where you are” every moment of a day. Yesterday, while having my coffee with Paul, I was completely in the moment. Right now, I feel refreshed, relaxed and ready to live another great day. It is my intention to have more moments of presence while I go about the daily activities of my life. How about you?

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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