The 2011 fall retreat on Lake Michigan this past year provided a metaphor of the future of our organization in my mind. Though it was the 29th annual fall retreat since the women at Rockford began at Lake Geneva on Williams Bay, the spot on Lake Michigan was familiar and all brand new at the same time. We are comfortable on the water for this fall retreat and the ocean-like vastness of Lake Michigan with its unseen shore on the other side calls us to the broader world. During the retreat, we walked to the beach to bless the waters of the world, "Dr Emoto-style." We seem to truly be living out our mission to connect women to the larger world.

An unusual and unexpected storm the week before the retreat left a deposit of new sand on the grassy areas near the beach. We were among the first there to investigate bits of colored glass, pretty little shells and shell pieces, sea weed and worn pieces of drift wood that the storm had blown ashore. We joined water birds in investigation of the small tide pools teeming with life. Our foot prints mingled with bird prints in the sand on the freshly swept beach. Were we also what the storm blew in?