I live in the country, 20 miles outside of town, on three acres with a stream cutting across the back corner of the property and woods around the stream. I'm on a shared lane with about 6 houses, and just past my propery my neighbor's driveway goes all the way through from the lane to another lane on the other side of the property, which is wooded on both sides for a quarter of a mile and then has yards from a couple of houses in the village before it gets back to the county highway. If I continue back up the county highway a normal ciy block to my own lane and back to my house, I've had a pleasant walk, about 1 mile, that I refer to as 'around the block'.
This morning, I read LiveJournal while I had breakfast. It was depressing, because several of my friends are grieving. I had only barely met eck myself, and if I even exchanged a word with him in the last 10 years, I did so without realizing who I was talking to. But my friends are hurting, and that hurts me.
Then I took my usual morning walk around the block before driving to work. As soon as I walked over the bridge at the back corner of my property and started walking through the woods, peace just flowed into me. The closest I can put it in words is that it is for my soul what massage is for my body. I stopped to admire a male cardinal, and thought about how strikingly beautiful a bird he is, even though he's a common enough sight that I don't usually think about it. After I'd been standing for half a minute, a deer that had been standing in the bushes 20 feet from me ran away. I admired the red-spotted purple butterfly. But mostly, I just drank in the cool, shady peace. I didn't linger, and by the time I was back on my own lane walking toward my car I found myself thinking about what I needed to do at work today, but enough of the peace remained that I can face the day.
For all of you who are grieving, or just stressed, depressed, or unhappy, take the time to walk a few minutes where you can't see any other people through the trees. Look at the birds and the butterflies and the flowers. Breathe the fresh air. Relax for a moment, even if you can only take a moment out of your day. It will do you good.