I am compelled to retreat to Nature periodically, Whenever possible I take my canine companion, Sita. That’s her last weekend taking a good look at something behind me. I rented a primitive cabin in the West Virginia wilderness and enjoyed some down time with her. Completely unplugged as I was literally off the grid.

It’s always amazing to me how being alone in the tao works its magic so effectively. I spent the first half of my time unloading all the stress, just settling down. The second half was pure inspiration. All around me was beauty – it was wet beauty after all the rain, but beauty nonetheless. I could feel my spirit letting go.

The stretch of land we were on ran parallel to what is normally a beautiful stream. On this trip, it was raging rapids and constant roar. We enjoyed several long walks and playful runs along the creek’s shoreline.

I also always experience a literal physical transformation in the woods. My skin gets used to dirt. I am faced with building a fire to cook: harvesting dead trees, breaking sticks, handling charcoaled logs and the unavoidable inhalation of smoke that makes my clothes smell so great afterward.

Walking. Journaling. Napping. Meditating. Playing with Sita. Sitting and thinking. Just sitting…

In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again

– Navajo prayer