In three of the last four weeks, we have left the noises of the city and traveled out to the countryside. You know — those places where you can actually hear the “quiet” — places of peace and tranquility.
One of our visits took us to a home in the middle of a game reserve, with a long porch across the front where rows of comfortable chairs invite you to sit and greet the dawn with a first cup of coffee, an afternoon cup of tea or just to watch the sun go down and welcome the night. David tells me it is even better when it is raining.
Up for an early morning walk, we passed an orchard of pecan trees while listening to the chatter of birds and when we arrived at a tranquil lake, we watched as ducks lifted off the water.
Wild turkeys gathered around the feeder for breakfast. A young doe came for an evening meal. We stood quietly on the porch without talking or moving and simply watched her. She looked our way. We waited for her to bolt. It didn’t happen. Then she moved closer.
I assumed she wanted a better look at us, but Steve told us she was trying to get our scent. After a time, she moved slowly up the hill, never taking her eyes off us, and then finally, looking straight ahead, she moved without hurry, up and out of sight — a hallowed moment.
When I am in these quiet places, I am reminded of my father and his love of the land. He was a minister, and he also owned 160 acres outside the town where he raised cattle. Many evenings and always on a weekend, he was there. The money from the sale of the calves was saved for my college education.
As a child, I did not understand the land was much more than a hobby for my father or a way to pay for my education. I now see it was his place of peace and quiet. A place for him to rest, relax and renew his spirit.
Those who give much to others need a place of restoration.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.