For ten years Andrew found comfort in the presence of his beloved chicken Frightful. Now he finds comfort in a coop full of noisy hens that he considers Frightful’s children. I find comfort in silence, a quiet house, a walk in the woods, or beach combing on Puget Sound.
Where do you find comfort?
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Sand and Water
A stretch of beach along the ocean is where I find comfort and restoration. For most of my life this was the Atlantic in NewEngland where the water can be ankle-numbing even in summer. For the past five years since a move from Vermont to Bellingham WA I dip my toes in the equally cold Pacific. But no matter where, the waves’ rhythmic unfolding and the endless horizon always bring me peace.
In the Garden
There’s a soft breeze blowing, one that I don’t notice until I see my T-shirt flutter. I’m reaching up, above my head, on tip toe, stretching. Aunt Pearl is directing.
“That one’s not ready yet. Needs more sun,” she explains. “Over there, to your left. Snip there.”
Pruning sheers poised for puncture, I spear the stem. To the ground – soft, cool mulched earth – falls the glorious, grafted specimen: part Camellia Japonica Lady Campbell. Wholly, a masterpiece.
“Where’s the bucket? Put it right into the bucket. Don’t let the water touch the blooms.”
I am, though, the one touched.
It is here, in the garden, hidden amongst the 10-foot fortresses, with the churn of Pop’s tires on the gravel, the buzz of bees pollinating the buds, and the smell of lunch spilling out of the screened windows that I find comfort.
It is here that I am as rooted as the age-old shrubs themselves.
I almost wrecked the car. I was hyperventilating and shrieking. Tears blurred the road ahead.
It was early morning and I was heading to the park where I went often, unknowing that it was my most vital place. I climbed out of my car and I screamed, keened, really. At the lake. At the trees. I tried to catch my breath in front of Mt. Rainier. And when the worst was out, I simply wept.
The sun shown off the late spring snow in the mountains and the lake sparkled. The grass was green and there were ducks on the water. I took a deep breath. Then another.
In this place I could breathe.
When I was ready, I drove to the hospital where I gave the instructions to remove the life support.
I go to the park often and I remember, again, how to breathe.
A Hot Bath
When I am stressed, my favorite thing is to draw a hot bath, light some candles, and play my favorite relaxing music.
For me, comfort comes through others – especially if I am seeking comfort from trauma. I also crave a bubble of space where I can just be. I find comfort in quiet, in bed, gazing at a lit Glassy Baby, in a coffee shop drinking a latte from a real cup, and walking alone while listening to a book.
My touchstone is my unflinching faith in the universe. When I truly desire something in good faith, all forces of the universe conspire to make it happen for me. And if it does not happen the way I want, then the universe has a different plan. I must trust and surrender completely.
My two happy places are at a mountain cabin wrapped in a blanket with a cup of coffee in hand, or sitting on a dock, gazing at the water with a glass of wine. The conditions are ever changing—sometimes the mountain is obscured by clouds and snowfall. Other times it is enveloped by a clear blue sky. Sometimes the water is smooth like glass, yet other times it is angry with whitecaps. No matter the weather or elements, it is all a showcase of God’s creation. I sit in silence and listen.
When I need to think or relax, I go running. I don’t care if it is hot, cold or pouring down rain. I love the feel of my feet connecting with the pavement. When I get home, I feel relaxed and ready to tackle my day.