• Jim Brown

Release the Toxins – Weekend in the Woods

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”– Ram Dass

Do you feel off when you stop exercising for a day or two? I do - my mind becomes a bowl of mush.

Yesterday and today, despite the heat, I decided to hike an area gem, Radnor Lake State Park, to get away from ever-present technology and to work up a sweat, and do something about the mush.

Radnor’s trails never fail. Canopies of trees created a cathedral of shade and relief from the burning sun. Fellow hikers shared smiles and hellos. Owls hooted, chipmunks darted, turtles bathed in the sun, and a doe and her fawn partook in Radnor’s lush offerings.

Immersed in nature, away from the dings and pings, a new rhythm began to emerge, and a better attitude.

My body’s toxins were being released, along with persistent internal toxins. Positivity and peace began to supplant my penchant to double-down on disdainful feelings about untruthful or misleading politicians. Gratitude and grace replaced the easy trap to believe everything I think. Judgmental thoughts waned.

The pictures I took, through my eyes and camera, spoke in metaphorical whispers. I began to see things differently than I had earlier in the week, as faster-moving blood revitalized my susceptible mind.

I hiked the same ridge-to-ridge trail both days, but reversed the route the second day. The same loop can look quite different, I reminded myself, from different vantage points.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. ... Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”– Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Gazing upon fallen trees, I reminded myself many were on rocky soil, poorly rooted, and crashed after a big storm. Once mighty, now part of the forest floor.

“The bad news is nothing lasts forever. The good news is nothing lasts forever.” – J. Cole

Admiring a stunningly beautiful bridge on the South Cove Trail, I remembered to look up. Dazzling rays of light broke through the proudest canopy of trees.

Breathe …

Feel the air in your lungs.

Breathe in peace, breathe out anxiety.

Breathe in beauty, breathe out hurt.

Breathe in love, breathe out fear.

Become aware of God’s Spirit sustaining you.

Be inspired as you stop and stare.

– Irish Prayer

I allowed my busy mind to rest. To appreciate and not hate. To understand but not retreat. To love what I have, to love others and to love the life I have to make a difference.

I’ll be back again soon.

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