I believe there are places on this beautiful planet that are meant to heal, that are God-given. They bring wonder and awe. They summon peace and calm. I am fortunate throughout my life to have experienced many of these places. The natural world has always given me solace.
During COVID, it was near-impossible to travel far from home. Last spring, I found myself driving out into the countryside near my home, taking in the rolling hills, passing herds of grazing cows, horses, goats, sheep, llamas, and the occasional donkey. The animals had no idea of the death and stress that the human population was facing. They just left the warm comfort of their barns and sauntered out onto the sunny fields to feast. How I longed to have their innocence. Watching them and being in the greening world helped me to focus on what is important in my life.
Finally, this summer we can travel again. As we planned our first trip, my mood shifted, and I noticed my husband’s mood also became more hopeful. It was evident that both of our spirits needed to roam. Our first journey took us to Stowe, Vermont. Something about the Green Mountains makes me all at once calm and joyful. The rolling valleys dotted with farms and the graceful sloping mountains in the distance give me space for my soul to soar.
When we visit Vermont, we go to Stowe for much needed rest and relaxation. This trip, I vowed not to turn on my laptop and to only check my phone twice a day. I wanted to be completely present to the river, mountains, trails, and blue sky above me. Even better, I wanted to take in the afternoon mountain rain without distraction. I wanted it all to soak in and restore my body and mind.
Stowe is the perfect place for photography and poetry, so I indulged. I noticed and wondered, and made myself available to the nature all around me. These happy surroundings made it easy to create. I placed no judgement on myself. I just looked around me and recorded what I saw and how I felt. These excursions helped me to regroup and refuel. I am ever grateful.
Mountain Meditation The golden meadow Laced with wildflowers, The stand of pine trees Gently sloping along The quiet ridge, Just beyond The mountains rise One after the other A play of light and shadow, Silver clouds drift Swiftly north Dusting the mountaintops, Beckoning Evening rain.
Moon Meditation Dark Daubs of clouds Paint the early evening sky Above the green mountains, Which rise like enormous waves. Silent and still in the distance, A sliver of moon appears Through the mist, A sideways smile Brightening the dark July night.
Moving Meditation Step into the garden, A flute plays lilting Through the air, My feet find the gravel path, I begin to wind around The plants and flowers: Day lilies, raspberry thickets, Lush lavender. Slowly stepping, Feeling the pebbles Under my feet, Breathing in the flowers’ Lavish Fragrance, Listening as the chickadees Compete with the flute music. My shoulders relax, I close my eyes. Feel my way round and round the circle to its center. I do not fall, I am held, Small and quiet In the calm.