Weekend in Rothesay

Weekend In Rothesay

Good Morning Touch

We had a wonderful time on our weekend getaway retreat. The 2022 Rise Up! retreat for women cancer survivors was organised by the New Brunswick Breast Cancer Network. I’m so thankful that I went, stayed, danced, laughed, cried and basically had the time of my life.

Casual deer browsing...

Surrounded by acres of woodland, mostly Eastern White Cedar, Spruce and Maple trees, the special event took place at the Villa Madonna House in Rothesay, New Brunswick, a most welcoming and well-run gathering place. It was not only peaceful, but conducive to meditation and introspection. Though we were kept busy with different activities and delicious meals, I took some time alone to contemplate Nature as she presented herself to me unencumbered, free and decidedly inspiring.

I wrote down what I loved about my surroundings, a prompt from my new Mindfulness Journal.

1) I’m surrounded by forest: beauty, natural cycles, tall trees and luscious moss

2) I have my own room that’s private and quiet; the window looks out on the courtyard

3) The scent of the Eastern White Cedar is intoxicating!

4) I am in the midst of women who are undergoing or have undergone the same things I did last year: cancer diagnosis, chemo treatments, scans and x-rays, etc. We are survivors…

5) Photo opportunities abound

6) Art is everywhere and we can colour all we like – colour pencils and drawing papers provided

7) There are books in their library that I can read. Meaning: they are interesting!

8) There are walking paths into the forest and down to the shore

9) Here I can be in solitude for my rest and relaxation or I can be my social self and join in the fun – it’s an 80’s soiree Saturday night, or as listed on the agenda: a Kitchen Party!

Kennebecasis River


Kennebecasis River

A short walk downhill and the Kennebecasis River streams by at the foot of the hill on which rests the Villa Madonna House. I enjoyed strolling down with my companions. The scent of natural decay from fallen leaves, mushrooms and ferns wafted up at us from the adjacent forest. But the most primitive scent of all which I still inhale in my memory was that of the many Cedars we passed along the way.



How can a tree’s resinous sap be so pungently intoxicating? Maybe it was the unfamiliar surroundings, or the fact that I was enjoying myself so much, but I don’t remember the Cedars back home around Moncton being so aromatic. And there were so many of them! What a great advertisement for Shinrin Yoku, or Forest Bathing, beckoning one to linger and absorb the magnificent smells and sounds of a Maritimes Autumn forest jaunt.

The nights brought on deep sleeps and the mornings refreshing, renewing energy that coursed through me and prepared me for the new day. What I wasn’t prepared for at all when I arrived there on Friday were the feelings of belonging, support, joy, and empowerment I experienced from then until Sunday at noon. Then it was time to leave and go back to our regular lives. But, surprisingly enough, those feelings have not left me. Something tells me I will have them for a long, long time.