November 16, 2019. 4:30 P.M.

As shadows stretched across the Frio River Canyon, a few guests gathered outside the Great Hall to begin the walk up to Threshold. Everyone talked along the way, eager to share how they had just spent the day—a spacious stretch of unprogrammed time that defined this inaugural Open Retreat Weekend.

Arriving, we explored the installation. Steuart tuned his cello in the southern tower, finding the harmonic tones that naturally responded to the structure. As he began to play we quieted to silence—Threshold now altered into a site of acoustic discovery.

Some of us squeezed onto the bench in the northern chamber. Others huddled beyond the entrance. Someone lay in the grass to the west. Still others meandered, searching for new vantage points to look and listen.

Eventually, the music ended. Jeff rang a bell. The silence lifted and low conversations resumed as we began the walk back to dinner.

But what had actually happened back there in that remote field, in this remote corner of the Texas Hill Country?

Maybe listening is the thing. A few hours alone to catch up with oneself. A walk outside with new friends. The unexpected and unfamiliar notes of a cello in an uncommon space. A recalibration of sensibilities and sensitivities. Eyes to see, ears to hear.

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