Let’s start here… the weeks spent planning, gathering, perfecting, practicing. Then the final countdown days – sorting, packing, last minute shopping and marking off my lists. The long lazy drive through small towns and bigger towns with names like Lampasas and Burnet and Comfort, stopping for gas every time I saw a station with more than six pumps because a) the bathrooms would likely be a little bigger/cleaner and b) there might not be another opportunity for a hundred miles or more! And, at last, the gate and that sigh of relief the moment I passed through to the other side.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about Lucky Star Art Camp. It’s a women’s sleepover camp, held every fall at a girl’s camp, called Waldemar, in south Texas. The camp itself is a magical place – started by a woman named Ora Johnson as a girl’s camp in 1926 and run continuously by women and for girls & young women ever since.

It’s a bit of heaven on earth, with stone cabins, cozy bunk beds, art classes, inspiring speakers, four-star cuisine, and the Guadalupe river running through it.

This year marked its fifth year and I’ve been there for every one. As a student the first two years and a teacher the last three, Lucky Star has become a place that feels like home, a place where my heart’s expression feels truest, and a place where my magic is given voice.

I may use the word “magic” a lot when I talk about Lucky Star but I don’t use it lightly – it’s the crystalline way  the light feels at dawn, the sparkle of the sun on the river, the voices of women softly speaking their hearts; it’s firelight and song, it’s the experience created by director Lisa Field, the teachers and Waldemar staff.

I think it’s safe to say that every woman who returns to this place year after year feels this magic I’m talking about – it’s an underlying current that inspires me, as a teacher, to step up, to delight my students and send them home with a piece of art they love and maybe a little bit of the magic to carry with them as a reminder.

Because back at home, it’s somehow hard to grasp that feeling. I find myself wondering how we can possibly have the purest kind of magic in a particular place, with a particular group of people, at a particular point in time?

It truly seems as though there is a sort of alchemy involved – a witches brew of good people, inspiring classes, delicious weather, river and stone and bunk beds and soul connections… I wish I could bottle it up to carry with me and pull out in the rough patches – rub a little on my heart and hands and remember how it feels to be a part of the magic.