I learned from a Jesuit brother many years ago that we are the universe’s method of reflecting upon itself. I’ve never forgotten that piece of wisdom. Since then, I’ve been trying to show the universe a good time. I mean, self reflection is good and all, but it can get a bit intense if you don’t focus on the better parts now and again.
In the midst of a confusing and chaotic year, in a country that feels like it’s brimming with animosity, I decided to turn to the interior and show the universe some of its good stuff: the stunning natural beauty of western North Carolina. So we took to the Reddies River in our backyard for a bit of “forest bathing.”
We had the entire 10-mile stretch of the river entirely to ourselves, save for a few water birds and a turtle or two. There on the river, the world shrinks to that moment, and it’s easy to let go of the chaos of this year and the wider world. It’s good to be reminded that this is still here, no matter what is happening beyond the lines of trees, and steep rock walls that shelter us from view. That nature is nature, and that we’re not all that important in the grand scheme of things—just a way for the universe to reflect upon itself. I’m pretty sure it had a good time.