July 20, 2011 3:10 p.m.

I was feeling the anticipation of embarking on a brand new experience – attending a writing retreat.  I’ve never taken a writing course outside of required writing courses in college and law school.  And as with most things in life that come with the title “required,” they were not enjoyable experiences.  With time comes change. Writing has become a welcome source of comfort to me.  Over the years, I’ve journaled to express myself.  To sort through my thoughts, my beliefs, my questions, my answers, my pain, my joys. Writing helps me find meaning that is elusive in other avenues of my life.  It helps me understand life, myself and the world.  I grow through my writing.  And I’ve helped others grow through my writing.  The winds of change are again upon me as I anticipate the retreat and wish, hopefully, that the book within me is ready to be revealed to me and shared with the world.

At the airport, I locate several participants also looking forward to launching into our writing adventure.   I met Prema, Rosemary and Amick.  Amick is from San Francisco. Rosemary joined us from Louisiana and Prema from Massachusetts.  I must admit, I was envious of Prema. She had one small little bag and I was in awe that she could pack for weeks of international travel in a bag so small! I had much to learn.  These ladies were already experienced writers.  Prema writes for professional technical publications.  Amick has a Masters in Fine Arts (“MFA” is the lingo that is brandished with much pride in writing circles.  Yes, I have much to learn in many areas of my life!) Rosemary is my ideal of a Renaissance woman.  She is a professor of French Literature, speaks multiple languages, plays many musical instruments (more on this later), sings as if this was her purpose, and is well-travelled.  And she is incredibly nice.  All three of them were friendly.  There was a noticeable ease as we got to know each other as we traversed the Tuscan countryside.  The cypress trees stood as centurions on the hillsides protecting the surrounded villas.  We couldn’t help comparing the trip to the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, which would be a common reference over the next week.

Within an hour, we arrived at Ebbio.  Ebbio is the name of an 800 year old Tuscan farm house.  After finding our rooms, Rosemary and I were happy to discover we were roommates.  We decided to explore the property and get to know each other and our surroundings. Here is a sample of what we enjoyed.

The Entrance to Ebbio

Steps to the roof and spectacular views

Flowered border on the patio

Ebbio Vineyards

View of the Back of Ebbio Property

Flowered Rock Ledge

View from the clearing where we would meet daily to learn, share and grow.

Flock of farm geese

Rocco- the loveable Burmese Mountain dog

Entrance to Ebbio

Carved Wood Sculpture to left of entrance

The Peaceful Ebbio Lifestyle

The reality of the trip was setting in – this is going to be an experience!