I just returned from the woods after a couple of nights holed up in a cabin with the best of friends riding the storm out.  Despite the catastrophic damage in areas along the coast and inland near the lakes, we barely endured occasional gusts and a soaking rain with not a single tree down among thousands within the park.  Truly we were nicely sheltered by rising topography and a dense forest of maple, ash, pine and hemlock.  We had ample wood split and stacked for the stove, as well as an outside fire that burned through the sporadic torrential downpours.  From our perspective the aptly named Frankenstorm was a dud, quite the contrary for millions of folks flooded out of their homes in the wake of an unprecedented cyclone.

I rinsed the smell of campfire from my clothes and bathed in a warm brine upon my return to home base.  And while it felt good to clean up it wasn’t long before I started missing the forest and my friends.  I became angry at the computer as it bogged down slowly loading web pages and email resulting in a childish fit replete with pounding fists on the kitchen table.  I thought I’d broken the laptop as the monitor went blank, although it has been restored to operating function after a couple of hour hiatus.  For 48 hours I hadn’t given any attention to any of the challenges presently occurring in my life, a blessed reprieve.  It’s amazing that within less than an hour returning to civilization it all welled back up, including some residual grieving over the divorce.

By all accounts we were not “roughing it” in our wooded retreat as we had plenty of food, drink and warmth, along with modern-day creature comforts supplied by Erin.  We had tunes playing from her smartphone and took in several episodes of Northern Exposure, pondering on the deep wisdom therein, streaming from her laptop as we stayed cozy with a wood-burning stove radiating heat.  The hot apple cider and spiced rum further warmed us from the inside out.  I had neglected to pack any sleeping gear in my haste to arrive at camp, however no worries as a couple of blankets and a scrunched up fleece serving as a pillow atop a mattress made for fine respite.  We ate like royalty as Amy cooked up some of her amazing signature meals including flatbread pizzas and an eggplant lasagna to die for.  Matt & I ensured the wood supply was fully stocked ensuring comfort regardless of the weather outside.

I did have a couple of business ideas come to mind at various intervals in contemplation whilst seated fireside.  There is something so profoundly stimulating about immersing one self in nature.  It is no wonder some of the greatest poems, music and art have been created amid such surroundings, and yet just as magnificent an ingredient in the creative process is the experience of pain.  We all feel hurt at times.  Someone with whom I recently shared my blog had commented that I “write from pain.”  I was at first taken aback, and then it sank in, resonating with me at the deepest recesses of my being.  The times in my life when I’ve been most actively writing have coincided with processing an experience of loss and grieving.  And this human experience is one in which we can all find common ground and relate.

In common wealth,


And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.