Safe Places

 

Is home just a place to live?  Is it just a place where we feel most safe?  Is it a place that makes us feel most strong? Is it a feeling, a desire, to be our authentic self? My ultimate desire, my safest place-my querencia- is to be at or near the mountains. Walking in the woods. Pausing to listen to a rushing stream. Jumping rocks to cross to the other side. My backpack hugging my body. My boots helping me find my way. Time is suspended here. Distractions are few. Troubles fade. Hopes soar and the Divine presents itself.

Last summer, I completed my first solo day hike. I had not told anyone of my plans ahead of time. I told my sons the morning I was leaving. I knew the men in my life would try to discourage me, not because of my lack of ability but because of safety.  But jerks exist off the trail and the mountain was one I knew well, having climbed it twice before.

The hike is easy enough, with some hopping over stream beds and slight switchbacks. It doesn’t take long for the sounds of the parkway that cuts through the notch to dissipate. I remember the heaviness of the summer air that day. It didn’t take me long to work up a sweat. My legs easily climbed up and over tree roots. I stopped to pause now and then to take in the green canopy of hardwood trees. I took deep, deep breaths, grateful that the air I was taking in filled me with peace. Can mountain air comfort you like a warm blanket?

The higher I climbed, the more I felt the tension slough off my body. Each step made me feel lighter. I felt nothing but joy as I moved closer to the summit. With this mountain, you know you are getting closer. The sky comes into view above and the long granite slabs replace the dark dirt and fallen leaves on the trail.  Suddenly-it seemed- I reached the top. A long granite bed greeted me with views of four mountains in three directions. The ledges have steep dropoffs.  I gaze into infinity when I look below.

I am alone at the summit but not lonely. I am filled with wonder and awe as I am reminded of the love I have for these mountains. I leave the summit with a renewed strength and the affirmation that this is home.

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Writing Spaces

Image result for woman writing in a woodland setting

                   Image courtesy of: Video Blocks

The creative forces inside of me are driven by places and spaces which allow for both an unburdening of stresses and strains-a voiding of negative energies and blockages if you will- and a transformation, an expansion of all my thoughts and ideas into written form where I can express my best self. For me, the craft of writing has become a means by which I have shared parts of my life’s stories in the hopes of helping others as well as myself heal from past pain and challenges. It is through writing that I discovered the poet inside myself. It has also been a channel for venting my frustration at the current state of our nation and world-something that I never expected to write about in a public sphere.

Yet, every time I think of sitting down to write another post, I am stumped. I avoid. I complain. I yearn.  When I think of writing, I visual the small nook, that small corner with its long narrow table top desk that held the laptop in the small Craftsman farmhouse that overlooked the sweeping back yard which led to the stream and woods. The walls were robin’s egg blue and the floors a warm maple.

It was there in that limited space where I discovered a part of myself that I didn’t know existed.  During that time and in that space, I was at my most free even while laden with enormous responsibilities. I think it was the greater setting and the newer incarnation of my family that inspired me to write enormous amounts of material and carve out the time to do it.

Today I write and dream of carving out a newer space in a greater setting that is almost an anathema.  I dream of a woodland retreat. A mountainous oasis.  A place of optimal quiet interrupted only by natural sounds- not sirens and swarms of sedentary traffic. Today I set a new intention. A call for clarity of the mind and spirit.  A recreation of  my own creation.  A Writing Resurrection!