Do you have a place to get away from it all?
Is your retreat . . .
an actual location, or simply a quiet place in your mind?
I attended a concert on Sunday, a featured piece having been commissioned by a composer who lives in the city but retreats to an island in the Puget Sound (USA) to write his music. Henry David Thoreau had Walden Pond.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. -- Henry David Thoreau
I've read every bit of Thoreau that I could get my hands on. My main "escape" is reading, which my wife considers a waste of time. So I "steal" the time to read. I also "steal" the time to smoke a cigar once in a while. This affirms to me that I am truly out of the clutches of my life, at least temporarily.
I do hard, physical work and I look forward to more "down time" as the years go by.
Yes, a supposed waste of time, finding comfort and meaning in the words of men who actually do have a grasp on life. Even if you must read in secret, whatever snatches of time are afforded you, continue doing so.
We wish "to live deliberately" and not "practice resignation."
No, I really wish I did.
Not far from where I live is an ancient (now abandoned) Chumash village. I like to walk the path through the narrow valley, following the trail to its end.
Along the way there are two spots that I will sometimes stop just to enjoy the peaceful solitude.
The first is where there are a few large flat rocks. One has several places where the Chumash would grind acorns to make meal. Some of the hollows are five or six inches deep. How many generations of hands must have done that work to make such a deep and lasting impression? What kinds of things did they talk about while they worked? What were their hopes, their dreams, their fears?
A hundred feet or so farther up the trail is a rock formation about 15 feet tall. It has the distinctive shape of an elephant when approached from the west, which is the direction of the village. For anyone that has ever seen an elephant, the resemblance is remarkable and immediately recognizable.
But I often wonder what these ancient peoples thought of this rock. Wooly mammoth remains have been discovered not far from this spot so perhaps they were familiar with them from their very distant past. Did the elders pass on tales of an unforgotten, but long-gone monster? Surely the last Chumash that lived near here would never have seen such a beast. So maybe for them this was merely on oddly shaped rock resembling nothing familiar or recognizable and therefore was meaningless to them. Or did their imaginations allow them to conjure up stories of a mighty, mythical beast inspired by the lines and shadows of this living rock sculpted by nature alone?
Even though this place is well known locally, it’s easy to find times to go there when there are few, if any, other visitors. Because of how it’s set in a small, narrowing valley it can be extremely quiet there. Except for the intrusion of an occasional plane passing overhead, I can enjoy extended moments of near total silence there, immersed in only the sounds of nature.
It is a sacred place.
Perhaps I’ll go there this morning.
Your opportunity may yet come . . . here's hoping. Thanks for your comment.
What a wonderful story! When taking similar treks nearby, I likewise allow my thoughts to drift back in time, imagining citizens of long ago and their activities where I now tread. It helps quiet me and set my life in proper perspective. Otherwise, simply drinking in the beauty of nature -- the forests, the mountains, the rivers, the clouded sky -- satisfies my aching soul.
If you go there today, we'd love to experience vicariously what you see.
I don't have a place to go to however, playing my guitar and making / listening to music is my way of 'getting away' from it all.
That is one of my favorite getaways too!
Music can take us to places we could never travel to in the real, physical world!
I wish. I can say that my wife and I go hiking to fill that need at times, but no place nearby. We hiked this place a couple years ago where we stumbled upon this park bench right on the river that was just idyllic. I wished in that moment that it was closer because that spot just spoke to me. I've been lots of places and something there just spoke to me. It's just too far to go to regularly.