On the weekend of November 18-20, 2006 the Southern Appalachian Young Friends gathered at Asheville NC Meeting House for a retreat centered on caring for self, others and the world. This is our epistle:
(Epistles were opened with the query: How has SAYF nurtured you?)
If you were to find a special edition Bonnie dictionary & had the desire to flip to the “S” section, looking up “SAYF” you would see: “SAYF (sāyf)n 1. a beautiful oasis of love & caring which has the effect of nourishing body & soul with its compassionate heart. 2. cuddle pile hotspot.
But, no, I guess in think of SAYF as the essence of caring. SAYF has & remains to enrich my life each month with its sweet Quaka lovin. The reason for this, I believe, is that each one of us feels in some way grateful for the love they have gotten out of this community, and this leads to their caring for others, creating a fabulous web of happy. Kind of like that commercial where some guy picks up the lady’s keys & she does a kind thing for someone else and eventually gets back to the guy at the beginning. Kind of like that, but real.
So, now a quick word on the retreat. I found it to be absolutely delightful & there was not as much of a divide between us; that was refreshing. I enjoyed getting to know (or reunite) with newbs, twoobs & other people I had not had the pleasure to meet. Snaps for Asheville planning committee. You may have been small in numbers, but, oh, were you mighty! The retreat was perfect; anything that includes massages & contra dancing would be. I have rambled for ENTIRELY too long, & thus will leave with a song appropriate for our therapeutic touch lessons: ♪ touching you-ou-ou, touching me-e-e, touching you, God, you’re touching
♣to you all,
This was my 5th SAYF retreat, my first since January and my last for awhile I think. I’ve always really admired what this community is for so many people, but I guess my lack of regular attendance or something makes it difficult for to feel involved. Sayf has definitely grown and with that changed a lot since my first retreat almost 2 years ago. I guess after a week of going to school with 1,300 other people, being in a contained space with a large group of people isn’t incredibly relaxing for me. I just sort of felt tired and disconnected from everyone, which is mostly a statement as to where I’m at, and nothing to do with Sayf I’m sure. It was nice to see some people I hadn’t seen in a very long time, and nice to be reminded that there is such a great community of young Quakers.
Until next time, with love,
This retreat has been crunk-a-lish-ous! From the very loud car ride up, the leaf pile, the contra dance, which I missed because I ate way too much, to the very short game of wink! I really love SAYF and I am so glad I am part of this community.
Hugs and love, Lauren The one and only.
PS Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
When I opened this notebook, my mind felt as blank as the page that stared expectantly up at me. There were many spectacular things about this retreat, but they grow slippery and swim away as soon as I try to catch just one on paper. Hmm.....well, the massage workshop. It was great. Before now, I had only thought of the “loosening of the back” part of massage, and it’s really interesting to suddenly have this whole new view of the thing. Contra dancing was lively and fun. Our leaf pile was impressive. Speaking of impressive, the Red Velvet Cake was awesome beyond words! I don’t even like red velvet cake, but man that stuff was good.
Arrr matey...... so I’ve been coming to SAYF for exactly two years now, and all that time I still felt like a newbie. This retreat was different though. I am, in my own mind, an old-bie. That took long enough. Cool. So long, quakers, see you all in January.
Love, Sophie Diehl
As loud and crazy as SAYF can be it creates a moment of peace in my life. SAYF itself is occasionally peaceful (hee hee), but how it separates me from the rest of my go-go busy life is such a gift. This retreat was a bit difficult in terms of quiet. People seemed to have difficulty in settling down and listening. Hmmmmmm ya know when words fail you and you’re just left with a feeling; that’s how I am right now. The feeling is something along the lines of contentment, restfulness, immense love .... nothing more!
I ♣ U – remember that
PS Contra dancing is my life! Thank you all for making it the best thing ever! Cake was fantastic! Hugs & kisses.
This retreat was well needed after 8 weeks of sleepless nights I can finally relax. It was great to see all of you again. I liked the service project even though digging through rock with a spade is a lost cause. The dancing was awesome but by the end of the third I had an unbearable pain in my back and couldn’t take another dance. As per the norm, merriment was had by all.
See ya’ later,
This was another wonderful retreat. It was great to see how much everyone cares for this community. I think that what makes this community so special is that everyone is free to be the person they really are, they don’t have to try to conform to what others expect them to be, and yet, everyone is able to grow and nurture each other. SAYF is a special community because of the wonderful people in it.
Asheville – you did a wonderful retreat wit a tiny planning committee. I found the weekend both fun and nurturing.
How does SAYF care for me? Although I am a FAP and not a SAYFer, I return from each retreat nurtured spiritually. The love and caring for each other gives me hope and makes me joyful.
Now for specifics: You did a great job on the service project yesterday. The new tricycles passed your strenuous test drives. I only dread the day Phorrest drives a car! I hope he doesn’t drive straight into a post, as he did on the trike. I laughed until it hurt.
Contra dancers: I don’t think I ever had that much energy. You were so good by the end of the evening.
Hope you all show up in Atlanta in January.
Holding you in the Spirit and in my heart,
On the way to SAYF, we stopped at this gas station. Waling out of there with other SAYFers was an amazing feeling, just because we were smiling with each other. Out of the three person staff and 10 or so customers I saw, one person smiled. It was the first step to seeing how truly beautiful everyone here is. I always seem to forget, but as soon as I walk in, I remember. We all have our faults, but at SAYF they’re so accepted, making the world stop for a weekend.
Here is an apology to everyone I had to swing with, since it really was a disaster, but it was really fun anyway. Love you all,
This weekend was really, really fun. I forgot that this would be a different meetinghouse (just because I’m great) so I didn’t expect it to be different. This weekend (actually Saturday) I got to ride a little tricycle, which is one of the funniest things I’ve done in a long time. I think SAYF cares for me and other people by being a safe environment to hang out and play games in. It is also very much a place for kids/teens to get away from home/school/work. I hope to see everyone in January.
Terra AKA Angel.
PS To all the singers last night: Wow, that sounded really professional choir thingy!
I’ve been lying here contemplating what to write in my epistle for quite some time now, but when ever I get a funny or thought-provoking idea, I drift into sleep and dream. Then someone will make a noise and I’ll wake up having forgotten my ideas. This happened maybe 5 or 6 time so I just gave up. In addition, when I started to write, every pen I got ran out within a few words so I switched to pencil. It would seem as though some higher power is trying to stop me from finishing, so better hurry up before something else happens: I liked this retreat a lot, but I LOVED contra dancing. I still have the music stuck in my head. See you all in Atlanta, or where ever the next retreat is, unless it’s Nashville because Chapel Hill don’t play dat’. – Austin
Through SAYF I connect with crazy people from all over, and each time it’s an adventure. People are so rarely the people I initially assume they are and it makes these adventures very exciting and educational (Unlike educational television which is pretty much just educational). SAYF is a place where I can forget my trouble and just boogle.
I’m very happy to be back as a FAP at a SAYF retreat after missing the last 3 or 4. It’s been years since I’ve been away so long. I see a strong and vibrant community of both Young Friends and FAPs. Our March Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, now held in November (long story) demonstrated that we are still willing to do, in Quakerly fashion, the ever-ongoing work needed to maintain this largely self-governing spiritual community. At the local service project and at the Sunday Morning cleanup I was pleased with the cheerful willingness to help, demonstrated by Gabrielle, Austin, Raffe and others. This community also knows how to have fun. The contra dancing was replete with smiling faces, and although I was mostly sleeping, the snippets of wink that made it to my consciousness sounded active-Quaker-happy. It’s good to be back!
Dear lovely SAYFers,
This was my second time at SAYF and I loved it. Contra dancing was amazing even though I sucked at it. It is definitely my new most favorite thing ever. Ya know what? I’ve been sitting here for about ten minutes trying to think of what to write. But, I realized if I write anything else I will just ramble on and bore you all to death..kinda like I am now. Thanks so much for a great retreat!
Last night we had the most pathetic game of wink ever. Never has cake been so distracting. Hopefully the next game will last longer than 6 rounds.
This is my last retreat in Asheville as a SAYFer and I am pleased with it. It was planned in a record breaking 2 hours. Which is the awesome. It was great to see everyone. Specifically Eric who has been gone for two years. Geesh. As for the rest of you, I will see you in January. But Conrad, I may just have to saunter up to Knoxville for New Years. That’s right. Oh and Raf, have a good time in Switzerland. I mean....Swazliland.
PS Write me a letter! 43 Vermont Ct. # G-25. Asheville NC 28806. I love getting letters. And I just may write back.
She spelled “write” like “right”. What a dummy! PS Conrad likes getting letters too. 6328 Strawberry Plains Pike Knoxville Tn. 37914.
I think SAYF (Southern Appalachian Young Friends) is a really awesome place because you can be who you really are without people making fun of it. You can also get cool friends that ordinarily you would not meet. SAYF is also a very caring place. That is why I like SAYF.
I carry your heart with me
I carry it in my heart
I am never without it
Anywhere I go, you go my dear.
And anything that is done by only me
Is your doing, my darling
I fear no fate
For you are my fate, my sweet
I want no world, for beautiful
You are my world my dear
Here is the deepest secret no one knows
Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
Of the sky of the sky of the tree called life
Which grows higher than the soul can hope
Or mine can hide
It’s the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart
I carry it in my heart.
- E.E. Cummings
I think I finally figured out why I truly come to SAYF. This is the only place that I really get hugs. I only have three friends at school who give me hugs, and they don’t give me real hugs. Many of you noticed that I often randomly come up and give hugs, many hugs. That’s why. This is the only place where I can do that without worrying that I’m making someone uncomfortable, or that they will get disturbed and avoid me for the next month. It’s happened before. Thank you so much for that absolutely wonderful gift.
All my love, Rachel
Oh, and to quote an epistle comment of a wonderful SAYFer who was, unfortunately, unable to come this weekend, “I think that all people are alone in life, but I’m glad that I can be alone with all of you”.
Okay, I promise this is my last comment: My brother, who graduated this past SAYMA, for those who know him, came home Friday to spend his week of thanksgiving break. If anyone would like to send him a comment or hug, tell me and I’ll tell him. I’m sure he’d love it.
Fight the Power Bring Down the Man
(support anarchism) Viva La Revolucion!
So this retreat was a lot of fun. I enjoyed cake, banana pudding along with all of the other food. O also enjoyed making the mother of all leaf piles during the service project.
My favorite part of the retreat was all of the free time we had. I reconnected and talked to people which I had never really noticed before. The added free time was a nice break from more structured retreats.
PS Steven told me that he would be at the January retreat in Atlanta. Seriously.
How does SAYF care for me?(and how do I care for SAYF?)
I’m not sure how you do it, but your loving care has a profound effect on me. I had a rough week with too little cooperation. Being at SAYF was a complete turn around – things just seem to flow, stuff gets done cheerfully.
I care for SAYF by doing my part cheerfully and by supporting the work of others.
PS The singing was beautiful!
There’s a lot of things I want to say about this retreat. I want to say it was wonderful, that I had fun, that all is well but I can’t. This was quite possibly the most melancholy retreat I’ve ever been to. Maybe its’ just because I was sick, or under stress, or feeling a little lonely, but this time for me at least, SAYF was not the light-hearted occasion it usually is. I’m sure you guys probably don’t want to hear this, but it needed to be said, or at least I needed to say it. I know there’s plenty of people worse off than me, but that really doesn’t make anything better.
At the beginning of this week I was very apprehensive about how everything would come together. But then so many people showed their care in so many ways. Chief among them-
Gary who organized 2 workshops and this epistle location.
Joy who organized the contra dancing and night FAPs.
Robin who went grocery shopping and cleaned up the meetinghouse before we arrived.
Now at the end of the retreat each person’s part in caring for the community fits with all the myriad others like in a jigsaw puzzle to complete the whole picture that is SAYF.
Darn its been a long time.
It feels good to be back.
In preparation for this SAYF gathering Friends were invited to consider what it means “to nurture...the earth, other people, ourselves.”
Going into open worship this morning in the final portion of time together, the query was posed “How does SAYF care for you?”
How do the tasks, opportunities to “nurture” and “care for” overlap and diverge?
“Nurture” looks beyond the present for that which is yet to be realized. “Care” implies an attraction & history out of which we can be faithful. Both tasks call beyond the moment of, yet remain rooted in the vitality of the now.
- Kathleen Hardie
Yeah, so my life has been full of a lot of lat things lately. Almost anytime that I do anything I can’t help but think, wow, this is the last time I’ll ever sing along to Korn with Katie & Sally, or, wow, this is the last time my friend’s mother will make me coffee. The last time I’ll play the baby boomer edition of Trivial Pursuit. Its really nice to have gotten to see so many people one last time before I leave, most of whom I never thought I’d see again. It’s kind of a double edged sword, though. Getting to see you all has sort of scratched off the scabs I’d developed, so I can get right back to missing you all over again.
This retreat was really good, but really odd as well. I know every old sayfer says this, but SAYF is not the same, the people are all new to me, not only do I think back to conversations with only a handful of the amazing SAYfers in this room, but I have been witnessing the rather surreal shift the community has taken where people I remember as Newbies and Twobies, have become the new archetypes, of SAYF.
I’d like to thank you as a community and the FAPs especially for letting me stay. I realize that I’ve been blurring your lines but it was good for me, and I hope that I treated your community well. SAYFers, this is an amazing group of people.
Now, on one last personal note. I’m so very glad that both Molly and Oriana were here this weekend. I couldn’t have left without ever actually getting to hug you goodbye, I love you both so much, and I will miss you for every moment that we are not near each other. You have both contributed greatly to what I (in my best moments) have become.
I wish there were some way I could take all of SAYF and stick it into a time capsule, just so I could compare it to what it will become in just a few years. I know that if I ran into myself as a newbie here at SAYF, we would not evem recognize each other.
Lilly, we’ve known each other in a pretty vague, other friend of Katie’s way for a long while, but I really appreciated getting to know you a little better this weekend. You are a really great person, and the world needs some people like you to lead its’ cheers. I hope you come back sometime.
George is really cool. You play a mean version of “the dress looks nice on you”. Eli, thanks for not dancing, man, or we’d never have spent enough time together. You’re an awesome dude.
I will, still, always love you all, my beautiful beautiful sayfers.
The best thing about SAYF is.....all of you. The people in this group are such an amazing group of individuals. I am so happy to be a part of you. I love you all.
Hey love birds and sweetie pies! I would just like to tell everyone how much I appreciate them. SAYF cares for me by letting me care, but also engulfing me in a pile of leaves/love and force me to have a good time. Of course there could be no struggle found to let that happen. At home, well, school, there isn’t that. I don’t get everyone saying “omg, I love you!” Well, actually I do, but only at sayf do I get that with genuine feeling followed by active participation in these words. Not to mention I’m not harassed here, without good intentions.
On a more subtle note....Ellen, my love. Please remember that you can come to my house anytime but I’ll be expecting you at new years and we can watch good movies and slumber party with the gays, or just sit in the bathroom with them watch the count down on our cell phones. To everyone else “Merry Christmas, and a fabulous new year!”
One more slightly less important thing...Eric...is a really good dancer, and I enjoyed my time dancing, as well as seeing you in general (please make an effort to come to sayma, Starling would die in the ecstasy of seeing you. You should know that she is a lardvark.)
However! Sam Mirion, Dr Z is a hella better dancer than thou, and he gives really good back rubs, which was major high light of my weekend. Actually Sam, you were in two highlights of my weekend! Quick! Everyone snap their fingers for Sam!
On another note...RAFF! and Stephanie. How cool to see that the graduating class is doing well. Remember that my heart is with you...and that goes for everyone! Thank you for keeping my spirit up.
With all my love and fabulous gestures of gratitude,
PS Ellen and I have the same handwriting.
Many thanks to Adrienne and the Asheville Meeting for hosting this retreat. Once again, Young Friends have come together to nurture one another in the loving community of SAYF.
Anyone who wants some photos emailed to them can send me an email at Marklemay@gmail.com Let me know if you just want a couple pics, or a bunch, and be sure to let me know who you are.
I got dosed by you and
Closer than most to you and
What am I sposed to do?
Take it away I never
Had it anyway
Take it away and everything’ll
SAYF ROCKS! ` George Pettis
HAIKUS by George Pettis
Another retreat Everyone is loud
This time it was my second I’m trying to get some sleep
Can’t wait for my third. Time to throw my shoes.
I’m contra dancing, Feel the burning toe,
Swing your partner round and round No one tells me tos low down,
And...I just fell down. I will stab your head.
Will Harmon has head, CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE!
Scantily clad rectangle, OMGROFL
Pretty tricycle. Gib mee sum ob dat!!
I’m violent quaker What a long meeting,
Hold you in light till you die I must eat shoes to survive,
Killer coyote. Holy freaking crap
Sing like buffalo Tickle me on feet,
You are my sunshine baby, Gently massage my weenis,
Squeal like a piggy! Must lay on Bonnie
Sara likes to dance, Happy Hand massage,
Only she knows all the moves, Uh oh! I just pooped my pants!
What a big show off... Mo more hand massage!
Hey it’s Sam Fisher, My back feels so good,
What’s that he’s got in his mouth? In fact, it’s almost too good,
OMG a squirrel! My back just asplode,
Waiting for showers, Set us up a bomb,
Get out or I will drill you, Your base are belong to us,
Right in lower back What you say!? (gasp) (gasp)
The cheese dog is here
No one is allowed to pee,
All hail the cheese dog.
Please email Terra at email@example.com
Since I can’t think of an interesting way to begin this, I’m just going to ask that if you took pictures to email them to me. firstname.lastname@example.org
* ditto * email@example.com George Petis’s email
Well another interesting retreat! Nate I really didn’t think you were actually coming! Poor Christina (my sister) couldn’t come, but I so wish she came so badly! Wow wink....yet again hysterical! George! Holy crap you scared me in wink. I didn’t expect you to go the 1st round! And you completely took off! Oh ya & thanks for keeping me warm Friday night! I was freezing! Lol, so he-who....lots, well not lots but plenty of newbies came and rhey are downright awesome! Well, I joined the Nurturing Committee, hoping I won’t quit it to early. You know I’d rather be here with you guys than anywhere else in the world. If I never came to these retreats, I’d be miserably locking myself in the nearest room which wouldn’t be good. Nate! No more “yo mama” jokes! It’s annoying! And that means the ride home too! Well at one point I’m going to have to stop writing...any second...oh yah! I found contra dancing very amusing...even though I did not dace...so ya ne second now I’m gonna stop writing! I mean it ne second...no literally! OK so I seriously got to stop writing. Well, I luv you all so much! And y’all better come to Atlanta!
PS email me! Twigstipp38@yahoo.com
This was my first retreat and I didn’t really know what to expect. I really enjoyed it though and met a lot of new people. It was very refreshing and seemed like a nice break from all the stresses of every day life. J
Oh ya one more thing. Christina also says hey and sori she can’t be here but ya her uncle did an Early thanksgiving thing so she had to go..but ya ok now I am done cuz I knew I forgot something and I just now remembered.
♣ you all!
Samantha T & Chrissy T.
PS Doug get your ass to the Atlanta retreat! Or I will find you and drag you there...no not reli I’m 2 lazi...lol.
♪What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love
As a supposedly “adult” coming to SAYF for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. Much to my surprise, I felt this was just as much a healing experience to me as it can be for those souls in younger bodies. Their fun-loving youthful exuberant free-spirited zanyness lifted me from the stale world of adult concerns and got me in touch with my inner youthfulness. We are rather like trees that grow rings around our core every year. The inner child/teen/etc is still alive in us. We need to nourish all aspects of ourselves in order to feel fully alive – not pretend that as adults we’re somehow some different animal. Meanwhile the whole experience was one of loving community – so enriching, reassuring & nourishing to give and receive loving connection. I was deeply moved by the beautiful expression of loving inclusive community I saw in the young people. With the frighteningly uncertain future they are facing, I know love will help them make it through.
“I got a big root”
Starring: Lilly and Will
Will: Check this root brah!
Lilly: It’s big much like your fortitude.
Will: word. Can you spear my foot with your tool and then this root?
Lilly: done and done.
Will: I shall acquire this root using manliness and gloves.
Lilly: You’re awesome.
Will: Dats a big root.
Lilly: I can’t spear your foot while you’re talking.
This retreat was the cat’s pajamas. And by cat’s pajamas I mean shiznit tiggitty sun-ah-double O gee o ye s se Fresh<s1. and by that I mean SNOOGS.
I felt like I found a lost breath
The feeble and retarded nature of this pen belies the clarity of my wisdom. I fel tarred and feathered. Bastard Modernist son of an ink-pig! Oh, wee be on to it.
Do not question the pants....they.....stoopid. – George
Eat my shorts or perish in goobla Khan - Sam
We was making MOOZIK!
E’vbody know bout Haiku is funish
Sayf be fly as the sky (dang) good, bad, being as words is
Fo shizzlp fo sho language limited
Lily is good and cool George fuzzy nice boy
Kinda like a good hair day In the circus with a moose
No time none left OHH! He bla-khaus my things.
I dance in the moob Great dino teeth I’m hot
Gookev muck muck (b-be-ba) for putting sayfers in pie
I’ma kick it good. And bobobobo
Dancers dancing is BBQ must have
Just like cheating quite badly 9 ingredients or a dog
With much gooo hzutspah. With a (whirt) rat face.
Beat box tandem in Noobs be gangster not
Harmony with the great (one) Lick my acid grin, tally
FSM (deep, cheap) my score as I win.
Words are cheap like man Hair is nice with grog
At the market ev’ryday a piece of flower paint and
Buying plastic things. A pear tree or shnit.
Will H is neuro-
tic but functional in time
with lots of spraink sauce.
I good haiku much Me like words much,
Poetry skills is high (huh?) English be my 8 language
Like Stevie Rich is. Goo Goo Goo Goo Goop
Much I being worse
In skills licked the great Charlie
Derkins, Ti had much?
So this retreat was pretty good I guess. I have to say though, that it could have gone a lot better. I think that the problem was that everyone has exams in just a month or so and that we’re all stressed out and tired from school, which I know is kicking my sorry butt very well. Hopefully, Atlanta’s will be much better. Also on a complete side note, I still don’t have my cell phone, once this is read please please call it and see if anyone has it by mistake. The number is 919-724-8677. Thank you.
Connections, connections, connections. That, to me , is what SAYF is all about. Heart connections to peers, and also across generations (I say this, feel this, as a FAP). And discovering our connections to the earth and all the rest of creation.
I recently went to hear a lecture at Warren Wilson College. It was on a subject of great concern to me, especially as I am a retired meteorologist, but it would be of great concern anyway – should be to everybody. Global warming. And the speaker was an old colleague of mine from my days working for the USEPA in the research triangle of NC. One of my favorite co-workers, with a wonderful sense of humor.Then, how delightful when after her lecture and questions, a Warren Wilson student came up to say ‘hello’ to me. A former SAYFer. Geneva. We had a nice talk. So good to hear that my concern about our planet was shared by Geneva and other Warren Wilson students. Connections, how lovely.
- Gary B.
She’s my best friend, she’s my very best friend. I can’t keep her down. Times are changin’, we’re growin’ and we’re agin’ but I don’t wanna turn around! She’s my best friend, she’s my very good friend, we both see eye to eye. She’s growin’ taller and I’m staying’ smaller. Now we both see different sides. She’s my best friend. She’s my very best friend. When she laughs, I smile. But lately, it’s just so irritatin’....only laughs when a boy walks by. She’s my best friend, She’s my very good friend. I wish she’d come and play! Like she used to, loved to do the hoola-hoop. We’re both in a different place.
- Madeline Adams
“In spite of everything, I still believe that there is good in people.”
- Anne Frank
“I love you all, and may light guide your way”.