We're now on Question #3 of Carrie's Give-Away Get-Away! This week she writes:
"There is a place for most everyone, that brings peace, calm and inspiration beyond reason. Where do you find yourself most centered, most connected to life and your most true self?"
Growing up in the Midwest, when I needed a quiet place away from the emotional stresses of family, friends, school, and small town life, I most often headed straight to the local park, where I would sit at the base of my favorite big old tree and try to sort things out. The tree spirit provided a sense of strength and protection, camouflage and calm. I also found standing at the edge of the lapping waters of the nearby lake soothing, though I seldom had the opportunity to be there alone.
As I got older and a Gypsy lifestyle became my reality, there often wasn't a nearby place of beauty and peace I could escape to alone, it was hard to find refuge. When children came into my life, opportunities to be off by myself became even less, and men in my life more often than not made home anything but a place of peace. Late at night the moon overhead became my focus and connection that that which was greater than me. It was the one time I could by myself for a bit, a time to start breathing again.
My early thirties found us relocating to the desert Southwest, where trees and water are in short supply. I learned to love the powerful beauty of a painted sunset, as well as the overwhelming sense of infinity that comes from gazing at the huge canopy of star-sprinkled night sky. However the reality of mostly hot days and long work hours away from home means that not a lot of time gets spent outside in the daylight on a regular basis. There is no cool shady place to retreat and write, read, pray or contemplate.
The most peaceful place I've ever experienced is a deserted stretch of ocean beach when my husband and I stayed a Port Aransas during off-season weather a couple years ago. I could happily have stayed there forever. The sand, wind, and waves washed everything away, purified my soul. A moonlight walk on the beach is the ultimate experience as far as I'm concerned. The reality is that I've only been to the ocean three times in my life. The nearest beach is 500 miles away, which doesn't make it practical to visit often. I long to go again!
So what does one do when life doesn't offer many beautiful places commune with nature? You learn to find that place inside your head. For me, both early morning and late evening are the best times to reconnect with my soul, and with my writer's mind. Working with multiple phone lines ringing and demanding attention day after day for years, silence is bliss for me. Absolute silence, no music, no background noise. The purring of cats is exempted. :-) I can do this anywhere, because I don't look around me, I look inside me. I take my cues from what I sense there, seeking light, goodness and hope, and working to shut out negativity and darkness (most of the time).
The prettiest part of my daily life is the twenty mile drive to work in the morning. This time of year I catch the sunrise as I leaveve our little house in the country and travel the highway into the city. It's a wonderful time to thank God for my blessings and pray for people and things on my mind. Morning is a time of renewal and hope. It's also a great time to think about things I I'd to share on my blog, and what I want to write about when I can find some free time.
With the exception of Saturday and Sunday mornings, which are pure bliss for me in their absolute quiet and lack of duties demanding my attention, I most often find myself writing at night, as I am now, sitting in my rocking chair with my tablet or laptop on the little rolling table in front of me, while my husband sits near and watches his favorite programs on tv. I watch too, somewhat passively, aware of what is transpiring but not following the dialog or acting, focused instead on what I am reading, writing as a comment, or trying to convey in a post.
To sum it up, in answer to the question... where do I feel most connected these days... at home, in the companionship of my husband and furkids... safe, happy, peaceful, loved. It really doesn't get any better than that... though eventually a bunch of trees on our property would be nice, and I'd certainly love another trip to the ocean should I win this contest! :-)
~*~*~*~*~*~*~If you haven't entered Carrie's awesome contest yet, what are you waiting for? A free trip? It could happen! Go here and check it out now! By the way, Carrie's pretty awesome too, in fact she's amazing and inspiring and incredibly caring!