Over the two days I was there, I spent at least three hours in the woods. I saw 3 deer, 1 raccoon, 1 large rabbit and 4 wild turkeys, plus numerous birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and 3 cats :)
I slept at least 6 hours every night and took an extra nap each day. I would have slept longer each night, except that first service starts at 4 a.m. The first service has about 15 Psalms, so I really like that one. And I go back to bed (and sleep) after it until the next service at 6. I spend almost 3 hours in church each day when I'm at the monastery. It's not that I have to. It's more that being in church is my way of remembering and re-learning how things can and should be. The many prayers that have been offered in this place, and the beautiful woods, help me further to be still and turn towards God to listen and ponder.
Besides walking and church, I tend to read and write when I'm there. This time it was Rachel Held Evans' Searching for Sunday, which I appreciated (it's actually the next book the monks will be reading at meal time). I also looked through Ruth Tucker's Walking Away from Faith, read 2 articles for my dissertation, and read the books of Judges, Ruth, and most of Acts. I wrote some emails, blog posts, and even a bit on the dissertation.
It was a wonderful break. A bit more energy spent on my dissertation might have been nice, but it felt good to catch up on other things, as it gives space in my head to work on the dissertation. The only thing lacking was Matthijs's company, but that's now resolved as he's back from the class he was taking. I feel refreshed and hopefully ready for the next adventure(s) and challenge(s).