Years ago, when my daughters were young, I attended a women's retreat at the Presbyterian Clearwater Forest Camp in Deerwood, Minnesota just 20 miles from Brainerd. It had such an impact... a happy memory just as children take with them after attending summer camp. Our days were spent listening to encouraging motivational speakers, singing, praying, crafting, eating healthy meals, canoeing, hiking, and filling ourselves with the solitude of the acres and acres of beauty surrounding us. Today, I returned again after so many years of absence to attend a Storyhill Fest. This time Dick accompanied me. Storyhill, the duo made up of John Hermanson and Chris Cunningham, organized the two-day event that included an impressive lineup of nine additional talented folk artists.
A couple years ago, we had attended an Ellis concert in Pequot Lakes 17 miles north of Brainerd, so we were overjoyed to learn that she would be performing. One of her songs titled "right on time" imparts a powerful message to be content with where you are in life... no regrets over the choices we have made or the niche where we have been planted by our own doing or not. It speaks of contentment no matter what our lot in life. I have found that embracement of this simple, but profoundly life-changing, thought helps develop a peaceful soul.
Other artists offered their own take on life's journey and the events that shape us and cause us to laugh, shed tears, ponder, understand more fully, and become a richer, deeper person. They included:
Peter Mayer and Carrie Elkin (Carrie introduced each musician, but, with the exception of singing backup with other artists, we missed her solo performance as it wasn't until Sunday. Her web site bio describes her as having "ridden a Gypsy breeze of serendipity for the last eleven years, moving from place to place." Also, others performing on Sunday that we missed were A.J. Roach, Grace Pettis, Ray Bonneville, and John Elliot.)
a very pregnant Raina Rose with fiance, bass player Andrew Pressman
Anthony Da Costa from New York
In such a peaceful setting under the pines...