My favorite places to reflect are either up somewhere on Mount Sentinel, when I'm in Missoula, beneath any trees will do (but I love big trees the most, because their age is comforting), and I love to reflect by bodies of water.
Funny story about this place. It was a warm spring day, so my wife and I came down here and had a nice picnic lunch. That is because where the photo is taken there is a little pool, where fish swim and the area around the pool is flat, sandy and grassy. But being a romantic spot; one thing leads to another...
But she was pregnant, and certain activities can bring upon the birth of a child. We get to the hospital and the OBGYN hears about what we did, and says, "relations at this point in pregnancy is okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy", he said slowly, looking at me like, "what were you thinking" with contempt in his eyes. Needless to say our youngest child was born two weeks early!
Artie Scott wrote:Travis, you caused the birth of your child in more ways than one! ;)
Wellllll….that is a funny story as well!
Katie and I had been traveling all afternoon trying to find a place to go camping, way up by Coburn Gore, Maine. It is in the middle of nowhere, and being labor day weekend, every sanctioned camping spot was taken. So just before dark, we find a spot, right next to a nice stream, rope swing, fire pit...perfect, just as the sun was setting.
But then we look down and see our tire is going flat, obviously from the miles of dirt roads we had traveled on. Figuring I would put on the spare in the morning, we made camp...and well more then that as there are activities that JUST HAPPEN when you are camping.
So the next morning I try to change the tire and the lug nuts twist off. I mean the nuts literally twisted and would not budge. Now completely flat, Katie and I start walking...miles to the nearest town of Eustis. We hike a few miles and this pick up comes by with the strangest collection of people I can think of. It sounds like a bad joke: "A Hippy, Preppy and Redneck were all riding in a truck"...but that was what it was. They were incredibly nice, and tried to change the tire, but they could not get it either, so they gave us a ride into town riding on the back of their tailgate. We called a wrecker and the guy was a farmer so he plugged our tire and pumped it up for only $50, and we went home.
A month later we go to the Dr's because Katie is not feeling well, and the Dr calculates it back that our daughter took root on a Tuesday, but Katie and I laughed because we knew it happened two days earlier on Memorial Day Eve (A Sunday).
It must be a family camping thing because my arrival came about because of a camping trip too. My sister is only 13 months older than I am, my parents coming back from a camping trip to Nova Scotia. Its been nice knowing all my life that I was a mistake!
I just visited one of my favorite places to reflect... up near the top of a big Douglas Fir tree. I have several of these on my land that are around 3 feet across at the base. I have trimmed the smaller branchlets from the trunk so that I can climb easily on the up the larger branches on these trees without having stuff in my face. I like to climb up until it is difficult to go further and I don't want to trim any more branches, and then just hang on and let my mind wander and contemplate things. I have several dilemmas I'm puzzling over, so I try to settle on one and let the situation up in the tree work on it with me. Today the ground is covered with about a foot of damp snow. The lower branches have some of this slushy stuff accumulated near the trunk of the tree, but the snow can be brushed off as I climb. Sometimes it is simply too icy to go up these trees. My leather gloves dampen with this sweeping action, but soon enough I'm above the snowy branches, and my body is warmed by the muscular action of climbing. If not snowy, the branches and their associated lichens are slippery. Because of the relatively warm winter weather, there is water everywhere, damp and in some cases dripping from the branches above. I climbed the tree slowly and carefully, which is meditative in itself. That helps clear the mind too. Today was also windy, so that makes the whole experience, especially the further I go up, a more careful one than normal. I got to the top branches, where the tree is less than 6 inches across, and the branches soon get too tight to climb further anyway. I am above the canopy of the majority of the forest. The view is expansive and especially bright in comparison to the dense conifer understory that I had walked in to get to the tree. The tree sways in the windy gusts. I allow my gaze to view the horizons down the river valley South/South East and North/Northwest as well as the mountain ranges opposite the river. I hang on and ride out the gusts, feeling the movement, but just relaxing into my tree hug grip which I am confident is capable. I then just let my mind wander, reflect, and be.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."-Margaret Mead "The only thing worse than being blind, is having sight but no vision."-Helen Keller
It's impossible to come up with just one spot. I love big trees, so someplace deep in an old forest would be ideal. But then again, it was incredible the last time I was atop a tall mountain and watched the sunset. Calming and grounding to Mother Earth. Stayed there for quite a while reflecting upon my place in the universe. Since I live only a few miles from the ocean, I find the rugged coastline and waves call to me whenever I'm stressed, worried, having an issue. The pounding waves, the beauty, the isolation is very soothing to me, giving me time to think, time to reconnect. Add a sunrise or sunset, and it enhances the mood and tranquility.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Seems like a common favorite is trees, which is also a favorite of mine. I can't think of anything better than to sit at the base of an ancient tree and feel the vibrations of life in the roots and the soil. Although, Robert, your description of swaying in the breeze at the top of a tree sounds magical - just wish I wasn't afraid of heights! Most of the great Mother and Father trees were taken from my land before I bought it by clear cut loggers, but they did have to leave some along the creek and springs, so there are spots to cozy up.
Here is a picture of one of my favorite spots - obviously some loggers have a poets heart, like Travis, because they left this magnificent pair despite the fact that Black Walnut fetches a fair price in the market. So it is a bit hard to judge the scale, but this is a fairly large black walnut tree, intertwined with what I believe is a hackberry tree. Not many living things coexist with a black walnut, but these two are like lovers, intertwined for better or worse. A great place to sit and watch the sky.
“All good things are wild, and free.” Henry David Thoreau
Bamboo groves! Bamboo is a very resilient being. And I can make so many things out of bamboo that it makes me wonder If I lived on the far east long before... Yet bamboo groves are so soothing for the soul! The shade, the calm noise of wind on the leaves, the smell...
I tend to be a peripatetic thinker, i.e. I have my best thoughts while walking, not sitting. And one of my favorite places for peripatetic reflection is Magante Beach. It takes a while to get there, since it is about 2km from my house and I don't drive; but once there, I need only walk out of the zone of tiki bars to find it usually deserted. The white noise of the ocean helps me get into a reflective mood, as does its blue expanse, and constant breeze. There are few seabirds here, just the occasional laughing gull or frigate bird passing by without stopping, but a surprising number of butterflies.