When we first started hearing from my parents after they moved up to Holden Village, they sounded like kids at summer camp. They were having a wonderful time, and were enthralled with the people, mountains, community, and spirituality of the place. As time passed, their jobs changed (fewer visitors in winter mean less accidents, less book sales), but they still loved it. Its coming time to decide about staying another year, and they both want to, but feel they’re needed back in the real world.
Our visit was wonderful. The early morning drive over snowy mountain passes, chilly but sunny ride up Lake Chelan, and 10 mile bus ride up the valley to Holden Village was quite fun. My mom drove the bus up the 9 steep switch-backs and across an avalanche field, and we arrived safely. A brief meal and orientation had us on to a bunco game with many of the full time staff and families. It was a fun way to meet my parents friends.
During the winter there aren’t as many visitors, though there is just about as much to do. There was sledding, skiing, snowshoeing and more, plus a great periodical room, library, craft room, common area with games and hot chocolate. My parents were able to take some time off, and we did some skiing and snowshoeing, worked on some puzzles, and just enjoyed each other’s company.
Holden is a religious retreat, and there were evening vespers. I readily left my church (when able) because I was annoyed by so many aspects of the community itself; there was a large break between what Jesus was saying and what we did. I felt my time in the mountains was a better celebration of creation. I found a wonderful meshing of creation, spirituality, and community at Holden that was much more like what I’d expected christianity to resemble. It was easy to see why so many come here.