I was honoured to be invited to an all-women's weekend at my son's sweetie's mother and aunt's country home, an airy, embracing year-round home on a mountain-ringed lake a few hours' drive north of Montréal. Here's the magical view from the front deck; this winter, the Laurentians were still abundantly snowy in early April.
Welcome to Girlfriend Heaven: seven convivial women, rafts of prosecco, good food that didn't require more than casual cooking, Audrey Hepburn movies and a Bob Marley-to-Motown soundtrack.
What do women talk about, relieved of the busy-ness of work and family? Politics of all sorts; philosophy; how much work a movie star can have done before she's unrecognizable; tales of newfound love and longtime ones; the joys and thumps of being on your own past 50.
We toasted milestones: H. is days away from becoming a grandmother; I. is about to publish her tenth book and invited us to choose the cover art: N. is newly empty-nested and designing her own apartment. Another will soon join a new partner in his home, her love for him greater than his for bold wallpaper.
In French and English—but also Italian, Russian, Greek and Pig Latin—women told jokes, described births, mourned parents, shared scandalously funny stories that I cannot report here, but will only say: Bill Clinton? Just as you always suspected.
Deep issues were resolved: whether DIY haircolour is Russian Roulette, and whether there is life after death. The former: short hair, no, long hair probably; the latter: debated during the prosecco so still an open question.
Besides a tasty veal lasagna, I contributed a homily from my American roots, which was new to my Canadian friends: "Ain't mama happy, ain't nobody happy": we can neither keep the love flowing to our dearest nor contribute to our work when we neglect our own well-being, never permitting ourselves to take these retreats.
For me, that time is especially restorative when spent with sympatico women, feet up, hair down, chocolates, popcorn and fruit at hand.
Do you enjoy such getaways? Who is there, and what do you do?
I hope, whereever you are, that this upcoming long weekend is a time of renewal and comfort.