On one brilliant September Friday, my life overflowed with womanly communion. Have you ever wished you could spread such hours over a week or so, but that day is it?
A longtime friend, Marla Goldstone, is a workshop leader who has developed a one-day event called "The Next Chapter", for women who wish to make any kind of transition with more assurance and insight, while still acknowledging the role of chance, surprise and the unknown.
Marla has distilled decades of experience (her company is called Working Wisdom) into this new event and wanted to try her material with a small group. She occasionally visits Montréal, so I offered my home and sent invitations to a number of women facing a personal or professional transition. Marla requested only six besides me, so the workshop filled in a flash.
The day engaged intellect and heart, and brimmed with music, stories, reflections. I appreciated Marla's respect for each person's privacy; a participant could open up or remain silent; either way, we viewed our life trajectories through fresh eyes.
That would have been plenty for one day, but I was also invited to a women's dinner party, so after a few hours' interval spent with friends also heading there, we arrived at L.'s gracious home for an autumnal five-course feast.
The evening reminded me of my posts on entertaining, when someone comments, "I would love to, but I'm too busy to do it." L., a university administrator, did not consult guests or seem to fuss about her menu: "I'm serving duck confit, a green salad and rice", she announced, and invited us to claim the other courses, and bring whatever we wished.
The duck confit comes vacuum packed, ready to oven-roast; she boiled a pot of rice, dressed her simple arugula salad, and voilá. Her husband had prepared a dish of baked apples for us, before departing for the evening. Someone brought a platter of grilled vegetables sprinkled with feta; two sisters brought melon and proscuitto, I brought a cake.
That's a marathon day of intense connection—so intense one woman
fell asleep sitting up at the table! When I hear
the phrase "too much of a good thing", it's
always sounded so Calvinistically killjoy. Maybe there is "too much of a good thing at once" but I'd have to see about that.
At the workshop, Marla admired Susan's necklace, only to learn that she is a jewelry designer, and the piece was for sale.
That's not the first time Susan has sold one of her designs off her neck. "I've learned not to wear the ones that aren't for sale", she said. (Shown, one of Sue's necklaces on me.)
Thanksgiving is coming in a month (October 13, in Canada); the question asked at the table every year is "What are you thankful for?"
I will carry enduring gratitude for this day, for time for reflection and discovery among remarkable women, and the joys of a communal table.
readers asked for advance notice. On Thursday Sept. 25, I will offer a
fall/winter sale of Hermés scarves from my overfull collection. The post will be up at 7 a.m. EST.