A moment of peace

Brooks Woodland Preserve. Photo by R. Cheek

I care. Honestly I do. But every once in a while I need a moment of peace.

My wife and I have found the best way for us to do this. Nature sanctuaries have been closed for a while, but are now starting to open up. The open ones nearest to us are about an hour away from my home in the Boston suburbs, out in Central Massachusetts. They are not places we would ever have chosen to visit, but now they perfect.

We leave on a weekday morning when we’ve both cleared out schedules. We pack a simple lunch, a sandwich and an apple. We head out to a green and sheltered place we’ve never been before, park, and take a hike.

This takes planning. We both have joint problems, compensated for with various braces and canes and pills for pain and carefully chosen shoes. There is sunscreen and bug spray. We are not serious hikers. We tromp a mile to a bridge across a stream, sit down and eat, then tromp back.

No one else is out there. The first time we did this, we saw two people, from a distance of many yards away. The second time, we didn’t see a soul.

All we see are the the trees, the streams, the blue sky and clouds and the occasional muddy footprint. All we hear are the birds and the wind and the flowing water — and bits of conversation or grunts as we haul our bodies up and down hills that would never challenge a real hiker.

Then we drive back.

I have no pictures since I didn’t take any. Imagine that.

I recognize the privilege that allows me to do this. I have a car and a wife I love. My work allows me to clear a whole morning and early afternoon. My kids are old enough to take care of themselves. I still have income and health insurance. My race means I don’t have to worry about going outside or what people will think. I’m very lucky.

I have returned to several requests from people writing Black Lives Matter statements, to clients with needs as well as children with questions. Hanging over all of this is my worry about state of my world, the hatred, the lies, the leaders, the sick and the dying. It’s all still here, and I still care — and it makes me sad.

But we found a moment of peace, which is what I needed.

Where will you find your moment of peace?

Can I help?

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  1. I find moments of peace when I read, learn, and know I’m not alone. —Your blog often helps in all three arenas.

  2. How inspiring… here’s what does it for me —
    the “2 Ms” music and meditation and reading things like this. Thanks.

  3. The closed campus next to my home has a meditation garden. After a 2 mile walk around my lovely landscaped community I look forward to sitting alone on a bench listening to music or wind chimes before heading home.

  4. Thanks, Josh. What a great reminder that all of us are human — no matter how professional and put-together we might look — and that, now especially, we need to tend to our humanness.

  5. Wonderful! Isn’t it funny how normally you would not have chosen these spaces near to you but now you relish them? We all need a moment of peace; hard to find in NYC but I am still looking!