“Mans heart away from nature becomes hard”
~ Standing Bear
After supper I like to take the dogs for a short walk. We live right next to a walking trail and if you know what paths to take you can become immersed in a deep canopy of green. You are quickly swallowed up by the leaning branches of the young oaks and gnarled old pine. There are ferns waving in the evening breeze while birds and squirrels sit just out of reach warning their neighbors of your quiet passing. For a moment you almost forget that you are in town.
Eventually we make our way back to the house and I like to walk from flower bed to flower bed and examine the slow growth of each plant while the hounds follow a scent from one blade of grass to the next eager to let instinct take charge. Patiently we make our way towards the section of yard that contains the herb and vegetable garden. I tend to pinch some thyme and enjoy its aroma and wash it off my finger tips by rubbing a leaf of lemon balm into a small ball between my middle finger and thumb.
While I stand there I can feel a sense of calm wash over me. The simple pleasure of nature, I used to get the same sense when I would watch the ocean while living in St. Augustine. Layers of stress just fade away when I am in the garden, it really is my sanctuary. After a few minutes of quiet reflection I am able to go back to the world at large, the crease on my forehead having migrated to become a smile on my face.