June 16, 2019
Tents have started popping up all along the river’s ridge. Beneath moonlight and star-filled skies, the waters lull us to sleep. In the morning, the light beckons our bodies awake.
It is the first day of summer program at the Grünewald Guild, and the morning air is astir with wonder and anticipation. The first guests will arrive in a few short hours; already, we have welcomed volunteers from as far as Austin, TX and interns as far as Indiana.
When the newest members of the team arrived yesterday, we gathered together on the porch of the River House, home of the directors, Jim and Vonda Drees. I arrived at the house at 5pm; three hours later, I was one of the first to leave. Just a bit earlier in the afternoon, another staff member and I had noted the length of our dinners together these past several days. Even after long days of preparatory work, our evenings were filled with time spent together, solidifying the sense that work, hospitality, generosity, creativity, and community all emerge from a common source: the love we share with one another.
It is for this reason that the summer’s theme is ‘Opening’–opening our senses, minds, hearts and souls to the wonder of love. Through the practice of art, faith, and community the Guild is able to be a context ripe with the capacity for opening.
“Why is that?” I asked Vonda the other day. She responded by saying that people who come to the Guild can sense the warmth and welcome of radical hospitality, which the Guild holds as a core value. She also mentioned that she discovered an article titled “7 Cultural Concepts We Don’t Have in the US,” and as she read it, she found that the Guild, in fact, embodies each and every one of these concepts. They included:
- Friluftsliv: the exploration and enjoyment of nature (origin: Norway)
- Shinrin-yoku: forest bathing (origin: Japan)
- Hygge: concept meaning coziness and togetherness (origin: Denmark)
- Wabi-sabi: the embracing of imperfection (origin: Japan)
- Kaizen: commitment to continuous improvement (origin: Japan)
- Gemütlichkeit: similar to the Danish term Hygge (origin: Germany)
- Jugaad: ingenuity (origin: India)
Given my own experience at the Guild this winter as an Artist-in-Residence, I enthusiastically affirmed that these concepts do indeed fit within the heartbeat of this place.
And so it is that we gather together to share in the abundance of beauty that surrounds and infuses the Grünewald Guild–its guests, volunteers, faculty, interns, and staff… its trees, river, garden, buildings, birds, and critters. We are grateful for this opportunity to contemplate moments of opening that form us into the people we were created to be.
With love and anticipation, we invite you to join us in the adventure of the 2019 Summer Program here at the Grünewald Guild.
Written by Mollie Taylor