Sometimes, the scrape and push of life against your skin becomes too much, until you have to push back; to tell it “Enough!  Give me some room to breathe.”  These times, you need to just exist, for a time, as yourself – outside of and untouched by all of life’s weighty expectations.  You just want to be the simple animal that you were born: to move, see, smell, feel and taste.

Today was one of those days.

I’d been feeling slow and bloated – skin stretched and shiny with the burden of my frustration.  Nothing was good.  I might never be happy.  I knew things were dire.  I knew I had to go to my place.

Before I went, I told myself “Something magical will happen there today,” because I needed some magic.  I am either too stupid or too broken to know how to get the venom of my own frustration out of my veins.  I have to go there and let nature quietly leach it away.

That is the magic that exists in this place.  It works every time.

Sometimes I go there, armed with my curiosity about all I see.  I want to identify every plant, every bird, every insect.  Every living thing is fascinating to me.

Other times, I go to simply be; to be simple.  To experience, to savor, to absorb.  To dwell in beauty.

I always bring my camera and my notebook.

I am never disappointed.

Today, the garden was brimming with people.  Of course, in a time when I needed solitude.  It was a hunt to find a place that was isolated enough to be alone.  Each time, I thought I’d found the spot, and someone would come traipsing along.

Finally, I opened the gate from the moraine garden and walked into the woods.  There is where the quiet finally found me, alone with the snakes and the frogs and the turtles, insects buzzing, pine trees whispering in the wind.

The paths were dappled with sunshine, the pine needles fragrant and soft beneath my feet.  Lacy fronds of fern tickled me as I passed; some more than waist high, others dainty and frilled.  There were unexpected splashes of color, on the ground and in the canopy.  I did not question these; just savored them.  I let the colors guide my way, and they rewarded me with a path formerly untaken, along a bubbling stream and away from the world.

Gradually, the tension slipped away from me.  After a time, I forgot it had ever been there at all and just delighted in the sense of freedom, and in the peace of the outdoors.

No medicine can compare with this.  For those of you who don’t believe in magic, I say you need to come to the gardens with me, and walk the twisted paths through the woods, in the quiet, where these things live.