The Morning Report

By Shelby Edwards


I’ve taken to writing the morning bird report. So far today it’s black-capped chickadees, junco’s, and barn swallows. The swallows just arrived a week or two ago and seem to delight in flashing down the tiny canyon created by the cut between my farm cottage and the sloping pasture above. They skim crazy close, just inches past my study windows. The eagles and the red-tail hawk usually show up around lunch on the thermals, but mornings are reserved for these small, noisy birds.

My day starts like this every day now. Up and out with the dog, maybe a walk through the wet pasture grass in the orchard, then in for the joy of the first contact high of fresh ground coffee and the few short steps to the desk.   Read more

Join Us in the Hedgebrook Garden

By Cathy Bruemmer

 

During our 25th year we are tending the land with an effort to start our next 25 in good shape. I’ve invited women who have been to Hedgebrook to write to join me for second Saturday work parties. We’re putting in some time to clean up around the cottages, and then gathering for lunch.
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Gushing About Hedgebrook Like There’s No Tomorrow

By Anca Szilagyi

Upon turning in to Hedgebrook, we (a poet, a playwright, and a fiction writer carpooling from Seattle) crowed at its green loveliness. A scent of wood smoke wafted out of the longhouse. And, inside, an abundance of welcome, and bagels so good I almost cried.  Outside, I met with my first workshop, “The Funny Bone is an Erogenous Zone,” with Jennifer D. Munro. On the walk to the cottage, Jennifer pointed out a bench with a view of Mt. Rainier, and my poet-car-sharer Elissa pointed out a heap of lavender in a rusting wheel barrow. It was almost too perfect.   Read more

Who Cooks for You

By Kate Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He flew on silent wings; one swoop and his talons grazed the top of her head. She didn’t see him coming. She was walking down the forest path to her cabin after a hearty meal at the farmhouse. It was twilight, drizzly and she was alone. Before she thought to run, he went in for a second swipe. This time, she left sprinting and even though her cabin was closer, she ran back to the farmhouse to warn us.

This was my first night as a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers located on Whidbey Island, WA. The writers’ cottages are tucked away in the forest amongst cedars and furs, pines and hemlocks and vine maples. In owl territory, it seemed. Funny, the packet I received when I was awarded the Hedgebrook residency, mentioned deer and bunnies, not crazed owls.   Read more

Dreaming Hedgebrook

By Allison Green

Before I returned to Hedgebrook recently for a brief stay, I had a dream. I arrived to find that the Hedgebrook property was ringed with new buildings. A teaching colleague — it didn’t occur to me to ask why she was working at Hedgebrook — gave me a tour of the dark-panelled bowling alley and the snack bar that smelled of frying oil. She showed me my “cottage,” a dingy brown nylon tent. When I asked its name, she said it was called “Willow,” just like the cottage where I had originally stayed seven years before. Outside the tent, cars in a perpetual traffic jam idled in four lanes.

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Turning Down the Volume

By Lesley McClurg

Surprisingly, the silence around me doesn’t feel lonely or empty.  The frenetic thoughts of my mind are quieted by the stillness here in Waterfall Cottage at Hedgebrook. I don’t feel my usual urge to fill space with sound.

Often the first thing I do when I come home to my apartment near downtown Seattle is cut through the emptiness by turning on the radio. I struggle to relax when my apartment is quiet because the stillness feels oppressive. A creepy loneliness settles over me when I sit and eat without the radio playing. Music or podcasts are my imaginary dinner guest.

Yet, here in the woods where nature offers only the subtlest noises, I don’t feel alone.   Read more

I’m a Reader not a Writer

By Cathy Bruemmer

When I give tours or orientations I am frequently asked, “Are you a writer?”  I’m not a writer. I’m a reader.   One of my rare pleasures is a chance to read a book from cover to cover in one day, preferably in my pajamas.  On a recent solo trip across the country I found myself shocked that the flight was almost over.  This happened BOTH WAYS.  All it took to transform the drudgery and discomfort of coach seats was a couple of good books and some earplugs.  Because I was traveling with my son I suppose the fact that I didn’t have to provide snacks, entertainment or listen to a few hours of chatter about the latest development in ski technology played a part in the feeling of a time warp.  But what made the trip a pleasure was the opportunity to enter a different world, to hear a new story. The gift of a good book is something I am deeply grateful for.   Read more

Hedgebrook Vocals

By Nancy Bardue

At Hedgebrook, when you hear “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all…” the call is not coming from the Farmhouse kitchen but from the depths of the forest. Our vocal – often loud mouthed – resident Barred Owls are making all the racket. Indeed, most alums can attest to waking up in the middle of the night from “noises like I have never heard before” or “a sound that scared the sh*t out of me”! It’s really fun when writers come to the office and verbally try to imitate the call, “No, no it was more like a hooooaahh, hooooaahh!” I love that they are also called Le Chat-huant du Nord (french for The Hooting Cat of the North).

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