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Peaceful Path

by Laura Gross

I made a decision 6 weeks ago to give myself one full month off. This was a scary decision to make as I am a single mom, supporting a teenager and off to college as of September 4. In the past 15 years I have not had more that 12 days off in any given period of time. I was giving myself the gift of peace, of silence, of writing, of trying to let myself be in the moment. With bills prepaid for the month, I started to experience a sort of withdrawal from the busyness I normally have in my day to day activities. I started to write. I started practicing yoga, and hiking or running every day. I explored my backyard (on the edge of acres of pristine woodlands). I started to hear noises I had never heard, new smells, and feelings. I was starting to become a part of my world, not just working through my world.

Addiction to constant stimulation, busyness and material things is a sickness that is pervading our society. Working 40 hours or more a week, commuting, constant doing, fast food, impatience and a go go go attitude was a way of life. I was in overdrive, my jaw was in constant pain from stress and tension. I was holding down employment, attending night classed, trying to nurture a relationship with my partner, and raise a teenager. I finally came to a crashing stop.

Week one, my head is screaming, what am I a moron? Did I really just quit my job without a backup plan? Maybe I could go back to the noise. I was catapulted into peace and it was uncomfortable. I could hear myself think, every thought louder than it was when I was a full speed ahead.

Week two, I am starting to see that there is a world around me. I just want to watch TV, to tune that world out, to numb the quiet, the voices in my head telling me I have to work, to struggle to get busy.

Week three, I am in the woods and the trees are rustling, my feet are walking on moist ground. The grass sounds different than the thyme I walk on. The catbird is singing, the crickets are chirping, and I am starting to feel my body.

Week 4, I have regained use of my senses. I am hearing clearly, seeing the splendor around me, tasting the air full of fragrance, and smelling the swamp as I walk down the logging road, feeling the spongy moss beneath my feet.

I have a picture of the trail behind my house. It winds up a field of green, through a grove of birch trees and into a wooded thicket. Looking through the thicket one cannot see what peeks from the other side. Just as the trail holds the mystery of destination my journey is hidden behind the pines. What is around the corner? What does life hold for me? I do not know the answers, but I will experience them when I come out from the cool of the trees.

# # #


Laura Gross is a native of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, where she remains nestled in the beautiful mountains four seasons per year. She is currently attending Mount Holyoke College and exploring the possibility of becoming a writer. She lives with her fabulous teenage son, Siberian huskies, and feline troublemakers.

Email: lauraagross@yahoo.com

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