For me, when I walk along the Cocheco I am in a place that I can feel and sense much more than is readily visible. It is a place that grounds me when I am feeling overwhelmed by grief or self-pity or just the drowning busyness of day-to-day life. It was just what I needed after a week of gnawing pain in my knees (bad Lyme!) and irritation about having to spend all my best energy on work with none left over for pleasure.
It soothes me to see the rich greens of the mosses on the rocks and fallen logs along the river. When I walk through the paths I see not just what is there today (large mushrooms, some cardinal flowers and the brown shape of a large bird in flight – was it an owl?) but also the visions of what I have seen here before (a fawn in the underbrush, deer across the river, snapping turtle in the shallows, coyote moving through the trees, otter playing on the ice and a mink sliding through the water in the granite “shoot”).
I love how the sounds of the river drown out the mechanical sounds of man (and sometimes the thoughts in my head!). I enjoy how the pine needle covered paths silence my own footsteps so I can move quietly through the woods. This feeling of walking silently raises the image of the Abenaki people walking here too, who gave the name to the river so long ago. I wonder if they fished here, hunted here, gathered mushrooms or even lived along the banks in the summer? I wonder if I am related to them through my grandmother six generations back and if I walk the same path of my ancestors, taking pleasure in the same places that they did? Always, I am grateful for the gifts of quiet, connection with nature and the sense of peace that I receive every time that I visit.
What places bring you a sense of peace?