A Short Story on Finding Peace

Hiking through a forest of lush green trees, standing on a mountain top in the clouds or sitting on a beach chair watching a miraculous sunset create wild, vibrant colors while listening to the crashing of the waves; there’s a reason we are drawn to Nature.

If you look on any map, you’ll find that the most populated areas just happen to be where mountains, hills, valleys, oceans and other breathtaking scenery exist. To us, this lure of natural surroundings is obvious, but at the same time, totally subconscious.

I have a question; how is it that in an age where technology vastly consumes our every day, millions of people still gravitate towards the outdoors? What is it about this simple desire that doesn’t seem to loose our interest?

For the last 5 years, I have lived near the ocean; a place foreign to me prior to moving to Florida. Each weekend, I drive to the nearby beach just an hour before sunset. I park, leave my sandals in the car and quickly begin carrying my things towards the white powdery sand.

Immediately, I’m tuned into an atmosphere I can encounter nowhere else. Here, the air smells and taste different, the sounds are soft, the wind is strong and the sun heats my skin. My pace begins to slow as my feet trudge their way through the sand in search of a comfortable spot and my eyes are captured by the sparkling ocean surface and endless horizon. On this stage, the sun seems to run the show.

Near the water and away from the gathered public, I set up my chair, remove my cover-up and head towards the waves. Once in, I push through the current in an attempt to reach some depth, lift my feet above the ground floor and swim. Floating on my back, I gaze among the parting clouds and setting sun while dozens of people swim, play, laugh, drink and smile.

only peace lives here

Photo by Jeremy Bishop

I see people enjoying themselves in some way or another. Either sleeping, reading, eating, listening to music, dancing, hula-hooping, smoking/ drinking, etc. Everyone seems to be enjoying in this place.

This moment.

I swim back to shore, refreshed, and relax in my seat as the golden hour begins. I’m mesmerized by the synchronicity of nature and watch as the sun calmly sinks towards the horizon casting orange, pink and purple hues on the sky. I notice the gathering of people taking photos; families, couples, newlyweds and children all capturing the sky’s beauty in the backdrop. An abundance of smiles, hugs and affection are displayed. Love seems to exist here too.

For many, it may not seem like much, but I feel something very special happening around me. I think to myself, “Where else do I ever see people behave like this? What is it about here that brings this happiness out of them? Beyond a simple good time, there is a deeper connection unfolding.

Looking towards the West, I see the backs of people and when I look behind me, I see dozens of faces all along the coastline. Like bees to honey or moths to a flame, everyone is pulled into this spectacle of nature.

There are no distractions here, only the ones we bring. Here, there is only nature, in its purity and it demands our attention. In fact, there is no battle. It has won.

Whether through the touch of the sand, the taste of the salt water, the smell of the fishy air or the sight of it all together, the universe has invited itself into each of our senses; demanding we acknowledge it.

Requesting our Presence

In spirituality, it is said that in Presence lies true Love, Peace, Bliss and Joy; the kinds that have no opposite.

Sitting in the sand, I can’t help but believe this might be true.

Photo by Nathan McBride

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