Hopefully everyone has a place they can go to when things get a little hectic and a break from everything is the order of the day. It may be a quiet room in your house, in the park, a walk along the beach or another place of refuge we hold dear to our hearts.
I have one such place that I call my very own National Park. This place has given me countless hours of peace, tranquility and thinking time where I can shed the layers of stress that I seem to accumulate throughout my work week. It lies at the mouth of a long canyon where oak trees and sycamores grow abundantly. As I enter the area I can’t help but look up at the tall oak trees, their branches interlacing with each other, almost blocking out the blue sky. I hear the crunch, crunch of leaves under my feet from hundreds of oak and sycamore leaves that have fallen season after season, layer upon layer of timeless silence. I often stoop to collect acorns from the ground which I jam full into my pockets and sometimes I’ve seen a cute little skunk going about his business nearby in the river bed, looking for grubs I suppose. Thankfully, I’ve never been sprayed yet!
On my left is a slope where I find a circle of large granite stones, almost perfectly set in an ancient ceremonial fashion. I like to sit on the largest one, close my eyes and let the gentle breeze carry me wherever it feels I need to go.
Further down the river, just past the Willows is the cathedral. Upon standing in the middle of the surrounding oaks, I look up and the branches form an arch, like the ceiling of a great cathedral. I sit down on a wooden bench, which I dragged down to this spot by myself (every cathedral must have it’s pews) and listen to the silence.
On the other side of the river is a small clearing where I planted a small tree. In spanish the name is “Guata” and it was given to me as a gift. It looks like a small pine with very sharp stickers on the end of its leaves. Lately when I look at the tiny tree, I’ve had the feeling it was telling me it felt cramped in its pot and needed to be set in the ground so it can grow, spread it’s roots and anchor itself to the Earth. I can understand the small tree because lately I’ve felt the need to spread my roots and anchor myself to the Earth too.
My current dilemma is how am I going to cross the river once the rains start? I am contemplating building a rock bridge of some sort but then again, maybe not. Wouldn’t that be nice if getting from once side of the river to the other was all we had to worry about?
My special place is my safe haven. My refuge from the world and my own national park, if only for just a little while. I highly recommend finding your own special place if you don’t already have one. We all need a place to just be once in a while and to listen to the silence. Believe me, it does wonders for the soul!