Thursday, January 3, 2013

Finding Zen at World's End

My children occasionally like to confiscate my tablet every once in a while, navigating across the touch screen with the ease of seasoned technological veterans.  How two five year olds can accomplish so many things with modern technology is beyond my comprehension.  It is an intuitive concept to them, one that we allow them to pursue albeit with some trepidation.

But I've gotten away from the point of my story.  One day, not so very long ago, I recovered the finger-printed , slightly sticky tablet from my daughter and opened it up to pursue my own technological mindlessness only to discover that she had chosen that particular day to land on the Wikipedia homepage.  Normally this would be nothing remarkable except Wikipedia highlights one entry out of millions every day and on this day it featured World's End State Park in north central Pennsylvania.  Seeing this stopped me cold in my tracks and took me reeling backwards in time.

We are all searching for peace and clarity in our lives, for moments when we reach a state of nirvana, even though you might not call it such.  Thirteen years ago this May during senior week at college I traveled with some of my favorite people to this state park. We did some hiking and then relaxed on the banks and boulders of Loyalsock Creek.  Being mid-May, the water was still running high but the sunshine was warm and intoxicating.  I separated from my friends and found a boulder in the middle of the creek and laid there for what seemed an eternity staring in to the water.  Sunshine on my back, the babble of a spring swollen creek, the trout that started to appear just below me the longer I laid still.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the epitome of Zen moments for me, one to which I still compare all of my moments of true relaxation.

Of course , there have been others:  feeling the deep sigh of a horse as I bury my head in his eternally tangled mane and drink in the sweet perfume of horse; seeing the impossibly skinny fingers and fat knuckles of two newborns sleeping with their hands thrown above their heads; wandering through an alpine meadow in the White Mountains enshrouded in fog; the cloud gazing of childhood; my first glimpse of the stars above what is now my home; the profound peace of singing Silent Night by candlelight  on Christmas Eve.

The point of my story, though, is not about my moments of pure nirvana.  It is about encouraging others to find theirs.  They don't happen every day.  They wouldn't be remarkable if they did.

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