By Tall Poppy Writer Cathy Lamb
A few weeks ago I went on a hike with Innocent Husband and Adventurous Singing Daughter.
We hiked into the gorge here in Oregon to a place called The Devil’s Punch Bowl. It is unclear to me whether or not the Devil has ever drunk from the punch bowl, but I did not dwell on the Devil’s drinking habits.
It was stunning, like walking into a postcard, only we could feel the crisp wind, smell the pine trees, and touch the craggy mountains.
On the hike, the trail became skinny enough, and high enough up, with an intimidating cliff – like drop, that we had to hold onto a steel rope attached to the side of the mountain.
I am no fan of heights. I don’t like clinging to cliffs. But one does not want to be a wimp, especially in front of a daughter who is young and fearless and willing to kick some butt if she needs to. So I did it, I clung, and did not look down, heck no, I did not.
Devil’s Punchbowl actually does look like a huge blue – green punch bowl. The gorge around it is shaded by mountains of trees that roll off into the blue horizon forever. It’s a place of magical nature and a ton of young people jumping off cliffs and diving into their own “punch.”
(I did not jump off a cliff, but I think I should get credit for watching.)
Adventurous Singing Daughter read her kindle when we had lunch and Innocent Husband and I sat down and pretended not to look wiped out as we rested near the treetops, the emerald gorge spread out for miles below.
But I was stressed, up there above the crashing waterfall.
It had been quite a summer. All the little sweethearts were home, which I love. It was always busy and noisy with people coming and going and a mind numbing load of housework.
I was trying to write another book and meet word count and edit goals.
What I Remember Most, my eighth novel, had just been released. There was lots of marketing/Facebooking/social media types of things that I needed to do.
I am not so good at all these social marketing types of things. If I wasn’t a writer, I don’t think I’d even be on Facebook. I like to be in my head. I can be social, but I have a very strong loner streak and social media doesn’t like loner streaks.
My mind was a zinging mess when we left for the cliff – hugging hike. I was not calm. I was not settled.
In addition, Adventurous Singing Daughter and her older sister, Rebel Dancing Daughter, will be taking off for shores far, far away soon, and so I am a bit nervous, and missing them already, even though their sweet smiles are right in front of me.
But up in the treetops on Sunday, I eventually started to simmer down. I thought, I hoped, I would have some revelation about the book I am writing now, the one that is a tangle and a maze, the one that is confounding my poor brain.
This novel is, as usual at this point, a literary puzzle and there are puzzle pieces that are missing, ripped, and a few that have run off with new lovers and I can’t find them at all.
I had no revelation about my new book on our hike. None.
But what I did have a revelation about was nature, and how much I love it, how much I love being in it, and how it soothes my raggedy soul.
So this is what I know today: Daydreaming is relaxing. Walking takes the stress jiggles away. And nature puts you right back where you need to be.
Nature is a bridge to peace, even if you are hiking towards the Devil’s Punchbowl on a scary cliff.
Wishing you many quiet, serene, exciting trips into nature this year.
And books, of course. One can not do life without books.
Cathy Lamb drinks too much coffee and daydreams endlessly. That’s how she writes her books. She is the author of many novels, including 2016’s The Language of Sisters. Find out more at http://cathylamb.org/.