Photo by Lisa Z Lindahl
view of the lake


I don’t know when it began.  Maybe when I was a child and we lived out in the country of New Jersey.  (Yes, New Jersey had lots of country back then — we couldn’t see another house from our second story windows).  I would wander in the woods around the house and talk to the trees.  I believed in elves and fairies and would sit motionless on a mossy log for hours (it seemed to me) waiting for them to show themselves.  I would skate on Silver Lake and notice the pine trees rimming its edge, glistening in white winter sun, their lower branches encased in mysterious dark ice beneath my skates.

Somewhere along the line I came to know and cherish serenity.  And its beauty.

As a business woman, busybusybusy, I would savor the Sunday mornings I didn’t have to travel.  With classical music, coffee and the NY Times and no other human in sight all day, I wouldn’t get dressed.  The gardens, sunlight and the birds outside were company.  My cats.  Was I odd, I wondered?

When that chapter of my life ended I sought serenity in a house on a lake.  Until others built nearby I had my serenity; only the internal demons to deal with.   But time passes and circumstances change.  I am back in suburbia again, seeking the serenity beyond the EMS sirens, the neighbors’ barking dogs, and miscellaneous workman coming and going from the never-ending fixer-upper next door.  A friend reminds me that these are externals, that true serenity lies within.  I know he is mostly correct.  I genuinely feel gratitude for this place, my friends here, my blessed level of  havingness.   I read Thomas Merton for strength and reminding.  I do my best to practice True Beauty.  I am not perfect.  As Martin Prechtel espouses:  “Shamans are not holy people…”.   Thank heavens, literally.

There are elves and fairies in this Southern garden, I know.  I suspect a gnome as well.



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