At home in Solitude
I have finally managed to escape my busy life by escaping into my very own home and self-catering establishment, Solitude Retreat Centre. In the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Solitude is situated in a tranquil corner of the Dargle valley. I have chosen to retreat in Yellowwood cottage, one of my favourites, as it was built almost entirely from high and wide reclaimed timber doors and windows. It is the golden light which draws me back to this lakeside cottage, a happy result of a setting which enjoys both morning and afternoon sun. The floors and roof of the cottage creak and murmur with the winds and changing temperatures, making it feel organic, alive and involved in my retreat experience.
I choose the oldest, softest cotton linen for my King size bed, and selected enormous towels, the size of baby blankets. It is fun settling back into the familiar space and I enthusiastically unpack my favourite things in their rightful places, including my favourite small dog. I have bought myself a bunch of beautiful pink roses, a small gesture of self care within the larger gift of a week off at home. The tree reaching over the deck at the upstairs bedroom door bends and bows its welcome.
It is Autumn, my favourite time of year at Solitude. I love the sensory experience of this place – from the visual drama of the changing light, to the sweet smells of bubble bath and scented candles, and the softness of the sunken bed and cotton sheets.
It is good to breathe again – really breathe, rather than hedging my breaths. And now, all that remains is to wait, in silence and solitude, for the gifts of rest, contemplation and stillness.
What I love about Solitude Retreat Centre
- The quiet space, with no sounds of traffic or busyness
- The welcoming trees with textured bark and changing coloured leaves
- Dragonflies, fireflies and the gentle, plopping sounds of frogs in the dam
- The colourful wild mushrooms under the trees
- The double storey cottages overlooking the dam, with cosy attic-style upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms, each with a unique design and character
- The relaxed country decor, complete with soft ginghams, subtle florals and striped ticking fabrics
- The fireplaces and wood piles which are essential to any Midlands experience
- The cheerful dogs who include themselves enthusiastically in every activity
- The sense of entering a different world, set apart from the usual hectic pace of life