My drug of choice…

Gunpowder Falls is one of my favorite parks in Maryland and appropriately it is one of the places where I get the greatest respite from whatever is manifesting itself as a burden at the time.

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On Saturday I just wanted to get away… From the connectivity and be accompanied by the sound of my feet and the rushing of the river to the side of me.

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I like being in the midst of the park in the winter as I liken it to a sensuous experience of sorts. The leaves have fallen and the landscape is laid bare, Mother Nature is proverbially in the nude.

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Making my way across the rocks to the other side, requires some dexterity that I’ve honed over the years.

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This bridge was an interesting addition, I would typically get a running start and hurtle myself to the other side.

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After making my way to the other side the sound from the river overtakes all else. I knelt down to get a picture of this majestic grass standing tall against the background, refusing to acquiesce to the grip of winter.

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The Pot Rocks area of Gunpowder is probably the most empowering part. If you are nimble enough you can ford the rocks to make it to a group of mini-islands in the middle of the river.

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I often sit here, losing my connection with time and the burdens that drew me here.

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Sitting here… I realize that I breath more deeply than I do anywhere else and I wonder why. Is it that the water has a baptismal effect that purifies that what ails me or is it that this is the place that my burdens go to drown?

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A light sprinkles down on my hat less head as I sit unmoving, transfixed… All is well in the world.

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It doesn’t matter how many time I visit, I always see something different and I never feel the same.

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I make my way up to the overlook and the feeling that I was looking for hits me with a resounding thud; empowerment and clarity, and after receiving this, I pivot and make 1.5 mile walk back with an ever-present smile on my face.

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Grateful that this is my drug of choice.

Being made whole

I have had the privilege to travel the world and the benefit to experience the duality of solace and empowerment.

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I’ve learned that being still, is often the most logical course of action.

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Each time… 

I’ve stood at the juncture of the places, these bodies of water. My pride, vanity and the like was washed away.

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And I was made whole with humility.

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And it is a drug like no other.

The metaphors I encountered on Stone Mountain

In retrospect I didn’t know what I was getting into. I had been wearing a knee sleeve for the past week and the knee was feeling better than it had in a while.

And I couldn’t wrap my head around missing out on an opportunity that was within my grasp.

Georgia’s Stone Mountain was mine for the taking…

So, like I do with any park that I have in my sights… I walked.

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I saw the warnings, but I openly scoffed at them.

Closing myself off from the world that I am walking from is a metaphor of sorts as each time is different than the last.

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Such is life…

Often we encounter something ugly that would leave us inclined to turn around and head in the opposite direction.

Seeing the Confederate flag waving in the wind stirred something inside of me, the ugliness and the subjugation that it personified left my face twisted in a permanent sneer of sorts.

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The disgust melted away as I looked at what laid ahead. I grinned broadly and scampered up the mountainside.

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As I moved on the incline seemed to steepen, the sweat began to sting my eyes. As continued on I found myself drinking heavily from the water that I had packed in my bag.

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Just as it seemed I was getting closer the farther it seemed to be. Maybe the writing was on the wall and I was oblivious to the message that was being conferred.

But… I wasn’t alone, there was a number of people pressing on just as I was.

I watched and procured power from their efforts.

Such is life..

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I reached a point when I saw the last stretch of my journey, it was a steep climb up to the top and I couldn’t deny the audible wheezing that masqueraded as my breathing.

I collapsed on a rock and took in the shade while gulping down a mouthful of water taking care not to waste a drop.

I looked through the branches at the sun beating down on my skin and thought that I was going to appreciate reaching the top more than I initially expected.

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After about 8-10 minutes of questioning my resolve, I got up and forged ahead. Holding onto the rail tightly as I pulled myself up.

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The overlook was tempting, but I stayed on the path.

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So many people engrossed in the effort.

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Reaching the top…

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Now I had to contend with losing my breath because of the awe inspiring beauty that comes with being 1,686 feet above it all.

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I was a little closer to the peace of mind that I always find myself searching for on these walks.

It is a exercise in consistency as I never doubt the presence of God because it is enveloping and all encompassing.

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I entertained the thought of taking the cable car down, but I decided against it.

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I reclined underneath a outcrop of trees and let the solace marinate as I always do.

Visiting Mother and letting her talk

When Mother Nature opens her door she doesn’t care if you wipe your feet or not, she just wants you to feel better than you did when you came in.

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Everything is in order, her interior decorating skills are without equal.

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If she tells you to pull up a seat, you pull up a seat. Respect your elders.

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The stories have no words but they are the most riveting that I’ve ever heard. She is so engaging,  that I lose track of time.

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She sends me off… Not before telling me to ignore the snake on the ground and to come back soon.

Oh Mother.

Calling a time out

I never really started the process of finding myself, until I truly listened.

I walk, unburdened and with a presence of mind that is indescribable, as words fail to encompass the peace that envelops me.

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Patapsco Valley State Park

Any excursion where I am able to absorb the majesty of a waterfall, is a segue into another realm of solace that I didn’t know existed.

Each one is different, every experience has a different frequency.

These waters have a baptismal power that is invigorating.

I suffer from migraines, but they don’t exist here.

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At the base of the Falls

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Overlook at paradise.

My visit to Hawaii consisted of me smiling for an entire week. I was empowered for the entire visit, being surrounded by water… That is unadulterated power and I was infected.

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I was lost, but I didn’t care.

Often, I journey alone because of this innate need to detox and be selfish. When I am alone in the confines of solitude, I operate on a higher plane.

Unlocking freedom and elements of my sanity on an incremental basis.

Closing my eyes, breathing deeply I often wonder…

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Herring Run flowing into the Back River

Is this a drug?
Am an addict?

But the presence of God says otherwise and I immediately know it to be true.

Killing time with Mother

It was a stupid question, but it came quite naturally, stopping myself in mid sentence.

What would I do to kill two and a half hours? Continuing this ongoing affair with Mother Nature seemed to be a given.

Once I got my bearings, I made a beeline straight to the nearest State Park.

I’ve found that no matter how many times that I think that I’ve traversed every area of a park that I’ve patronized over the years, I find myself happily proven wrong.

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I found myself in the embrace of the Patapsco Valley today.

Hearing the river rushing in the valley below, I fought the urge to run towards it.

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I walked with a deliberate saunter, letting the world behind me slowly melt away.

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It was a steep incline in some places, I stumbled, but I continued on.

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As I made my way down to the river. It was as if I was beckoned to sit at the rivers edge.

As if Mother Nature crafted a seat, just with me in mind. I sat on a rock, in the middle of the river, while sun infused me with a warmth that seemed to download a sense of fortitude that I didn’t know that I needed.

I closed my eyes while my mind took baby steps towards making sense of it all.

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Before I knew it, the two and a half hours that I needed to kill were breathing their last gasps.

As I make my way back up the valley.

I grouse…

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Time is never on my side.

Finding what was buried within.

As I back up my old photo’s to the Cloud.

I was drawn to this set of photographs, it was significant because it was during this walk that I wrote my first piece of poetry.

It was a organic act that unfolded without much fanfare.

As I walked through this area of Gunpowder Falls this past December.

I was accompanied by nothing other than the crunching of the snow beneath my feet and feeling as if I was impervious to the elements that seemed to say…

“You will freeze, you will regret not having those gloves that you forgot at home.”

But, I was looking for something that I eventually found.

Peace of mind, solace.

So, I walked.

Discovering a layer that I didn’t know I possessed.

Not to say that my poetry is any good, but it is the act of creating it, that makes me feel empowered and that is more important that any accolade I could ever receive.

Gunpowder Falls

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Savoring the flashback

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Years ago, if someone told me that I’d be an addict for wandering throughout the confines of nature, I would have been inclined to laugh heartily in their face.

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If I was told that I would find piece of mind and a weapon to defeat the anger and malaise that would sometimes envelope me in their cold embrace, their dialogue would’ve been met with a blank stare.

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I walk, sometimes not knowing where I’m going, but knowing that I will reach my end goal of being inspired and empowered.

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Sometimes when I can’t walk into Mother Nature’s embrace, just indulging one of my senses is just enough.

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Sight has the ability to bring the other senses to a happy medium.

So I flip through my directory of travels.

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And…

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A simple exhale is sometimes, more than enough

As I continued on – A walk in Gunpowder Falls

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It began innocently enough… I’ve walked this path many times before, casting my burdens by the wayside as I walked.

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It was the calm before the storm…  And it was apparent that I was the only person along this stretch of the park, I walked without any sense of urgency.

I placed my gloved hands inside my jacket pockets to keep them warm,  after a few minutes I discovered that my normal route was flooded and frozen over.

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What to do?

I walked gingerly and listened to the ice buckle and crack under my feet. It eventually gave way and I gave a silent thank you to waterproof boots as I continued on.

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I was at this point in the trail when I reached the solace point.

And…

The forest enveloped me in her icy embrace that I was impervious to, thanks to my internal thermal garments.

So, I continued on.

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The beauty of winter is often underrated, as the cold reveals the terrain for what it is…

The majesty of the cliffs that jut out from the landscape are magnetic.

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The power of the stream rushing to my right refuses to succumb to a fate of ice, being still isn’t what it aspires to.

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I look up & wonder about the vantage point from the cliff…. I pause, before continuing on.

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I reach a point in the forest where I usually ford the rocks to get to the other side only to find that it is covered by a layer of ice…

I see a future on me on my ass, which is a deal breaker.

No options, so I continue on… Discovering a path to my left.

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I’m not ready to turn back because I haven’t acquired what I came here to get. I look upstream to see if there is another way across.

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I follow this path and I kick  myself for not discovering this route previously…

And… I continue on.

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The sound of the water rushing by insulates me from numbness spreading into my fingers.

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I’m compelled to reach back to grab my camera, rabidly removing my gloves to snap pictures as I continue on.

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The rush of the water is growing in volume… Filling my ears with the splendor of the sound.

So I continue on…

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I wasn’t prepared for what was over the hill…

Undaunted, I continued on…

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Here lies another set of waterfalls that I was oblivious to… I made my way down to the stream and absorbed the divine. My appendages weren’t cold, but were pulsating with the warmth of divine intervention.

I didn’t want to continue on…

But I did.

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The icy embrace of winter made its presence felt as I continued on.

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How had this segment of the park slipped through my fingers after all of these years I wondered.

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As I walked, I felt free, unburdened, unencumbered and I felt a smile creep over my face.

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And I continued on…

Content after finding what I was looking for…

A slice of solace, piece of mind, a hug from the Almighty.

Looking out, looking past and grabbing the realization

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As I stood on the shore I looked out at the horizon, cognizant of the chilled air that was being warmed in my lungs and exhaled back into the world.

Realizing…

That my standing here was a metaphor of sorts.

My looking out at the horizon, past where I stood at the water’s edge.

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Stood something I could see, but it was seemingly…

Out of reach … But, this short-sighted observation only tells half of the story.

Why should I limit myself to constructing barriers to what can’t be done, versus finding ways to traverse those barriers?

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The memory is short and it allows me to forget my triumphs, when my slipping into the icy depths of defeat were but a formality.

But, I found stepping stones when others saw an impasse.

Why should comfort be taken in the penitentiary of “can’t” when “shall, can and will” have more upside?