Per aspera ad astra.*
It’s a common Latin phrase of unknown origin meaning “through hardships to the stars.” It occurred to us as a fitting description of our first 9 months of the gestation of Oranbega Retreat Center.
Yes, we have encountered hardships and stumbling blocks in our first months:
- Buying the house on Narramissic Drive.
We found the house long before we knew we could purchase it. It was just right. It had plenty of rooms, plenty of light, a studio for Robert, two kitchens . . . but it was well out of our price range. Pooling our resources for a downpayment was an option, but then nobody would offer any of us a mortgage given our petty retirement incomes. Hardship! But then an expected legacy arrived, unexpectedly enormous in size. Suddenly we could buy the house outright. And we did.
- January 8th was the starry day we bought the house and immediately began to finish the unfinished upstairs rooms. All went swimmingly until– boom! Covid struck, and we were in lockdown. Luckily, Governor Janet Mills deemed home construction projects like ours “essential” so we could proceed to provide work and income for painters, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and their families. Lots of stars there.
- The covid-19 pandemic did not immediately resolve itself as we had hoped. It got worse. Nobody would be traveling in the summer of 2020, nobody would be booking retreats. We sighed, and carried on.
- Thinking that by the fall things might be different we scheduled an August Opening, and had a grand time!
But the same week we heard from the Orland Planning Board that our plans for the Retreat House might not pass muster with the State and local regulations for fire prevention. A stumbling block! Back to the drawing board (literally).
Right now we are drawing up the new plan for the house, hoping the Planning Board will give us the go ahead now that the Guest Bedrooms are on the ground floor with plenty of easy access and egress.
Meanwhile, some stars:
First, the new bedroom configuration is absolutely beautiful. Future Guests will be delighted with their rooms.
The August Poetry fest was so successful we have decided to continue with virtual programs through the winter:
January– Robert Burns’ night celebrating poetry, literature, and Scotland.
February– an in-person, socially distanced, Writers’ Retreat Day. (Depending on the state of the pandemic and the Maine CDC recommendations).
For dates, times. full descriptions, and sign up opportunities, please see the Events page of the website.
So, per aspera– and the hardships have indeed seemed insurmountable from time to time– ad astra– but the stars still shine and beckon us to reach higher, and to trust that our dreams will not be in vain.
*(Oh, yes, and fellow trekkies will recognize it as the motto of Starfleet Academy).