I think my secret place was always books, especially childhood favorites that felt familiar and yet also opened me up to the possibilities of learning about other worlds (the Anne of Green Gables series, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). But it was also the almond orchards behind my parents’ house, where I’d wander on balmy afternoons and pretend I was hunting in a jungle. After I moved away to college, it became the coast, where I’d watch and listen to the waves crashing against rock or lapping the sand.

It also became the front stoop of my parents’ house, where upon homecoming I’d gingerly sit down past midnight after the rest of the house had gone to sleep, just to be alone and look up at the stars. Their distance put my world in perspective but also reminded me of the continuity of the ages, and gave me such a feeling of wholeness and peace. I remember it being so quiet except for the faint chirping of crickets and a distant train whistle occasionally punctuating the silence.

Flandrum Hill

Whether you’re six or sixty, if you don’t already have a secret place where you can be uninterrupted by yourself, perhaps it’s time you found one.  Either in nature or near it, such a place offers you the opportunity to escape from the world for a few minutes and just… enjoy the view.

Your secret window on the natural world allows you to be refreshed and restored with a minimum investment of time.  You needn’t engage with anything except your imagination.

Your secret place need not be large or spacious.  You only need room enough to hunker down for a short while to take a moment from the demands of the world.  A woodland setting is ideal, but  less remote places offer good possibilities too:  a spot beneath a special tree or the quiet corner of a deck, balcony, rooftop or beach.

Even a secluded park bench or stone can…

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