Monday, June 20, 2011


When I was 17 and existential I was fortunate enough to find myself deep in the woods of Walden Pond with a fresh paperback of Walden  by Henry David Thoreau.  My isolation was motivated by the need to sneak a cigarette because I was fresh like that and wanted some privacy in my smoke.  Sitting cross legged under a green leafy canopy I opened the book to begin reading.  It was a "Holy Cow" moment for me (a favorite saying in the seventies).  Thoreau managed to write out what was missing from my midwestern suburban life and it changed me. A magnetic combination of truth, nature, and peacefulness helped me stay still long enough to see I was at a cross roads in my life.

I would be going to college in a year.  How would I live my life when I was in fact in charge of it?

Now 32 years later I have found my own Walden in the form of Lake Tenkiller in Tahlequah. Early in the morning there is a stillness on the water and the songs of birds are my music.  Coffee has replaced my nicotine habit, but the effect of reading in nature is as compelling and life changing now as it was then.  But what to read? 

The only book in recent history to bring me a "Holy Cow" moment of fusion with nature is the gift of an ordinary day by Katrina Kenison. Kenison writes my new story in her words. The launching of her children into college, with the dilemna of how to fill that space in her home and in her daily life.  Her project becomes the rennovation of an old farmhouse in the woods by a pond.  She writes:

"There is something about this hilltop, with its view of meadow and mountain, that invites daily contemplation and repose. There is something too, about the ordinary, everyday rhythm of life here that is surprisingly satisfying, as if in forgoing for a time some of the technology and twenty-first-century material comforts we usually take for grainted, we are more able to open ourselves to each day's small tasks and simple pleasures."

It is 2011, and now I have a 17 year old of my own.  Kate is preparing herself for college, and I am preparing myself for her  leaving.  In our tiny trailer on the side of a hill facing Lake Tenkiller I find serenity and moments of stillness with myself.  Nothing understands loss and gain like nature.  It is God's outdoor church to me. 

Where do you find stillness in 2011? 
What book would you want to affirm your purpose in your special place?


  1. "Nothing understands loss and gain like nature."


  2. This is gorgeous, Lisa.

    I need to learn to find stillness.

    I need a special place in nature.

    I will keep searching . . .