A quest for peace often sends you away. Sometimes to a forest or jungle retreat, sometimes to a spa, and sometimes to a city depending on the kind of peace you’re looking for.

quest for peace
a middle-aged woman who generally still feels like a girl (me) and her dog (clever girl),
photo by A Hopkins, March 2023

Peace is;

the state of not being interrupted or annoyed by worry, problems, noise, or unwanted actions.

Cambridge dictionary

For me, the quest for peace is almost always at the forest end of the spectrum.

Deep in dense forest, full of the sound of birds and insects, sometimes a creature scurrying away to safety. Slight breeze through your fingers as your hands point out your steps. The air thick with the scents of eucalyptus, tea tree, and nectar rich flowers. The dust under your feet, with sun warmed rocks and tree stumps to sit on.

It feels good to just list it all out!

Recently I had the good fortune to spend a few days walking the trails around the Ovens River in Bright. Enjoying the sense of solitude, the potential to be the only person for miles.

Least ways until someone came walking in the opposite direction…

With that kind of solutide, you come to understand your mortality; one day you too will be gone, leaving nothing behind.

Except it seems, your discarded tissues and the perfume of your body, hair and laundry detergents lingering in your wake.

I usually try to sink into the peaceful bush solitude while I’m away. Soak up the sensations to draw on when things get frantic again back home.

Though as Andy Puddicombe noted on a meditation when I got back, there’s not much point to that. Whenever you go back into that sense memory, you still have to come back to the chaos you’re trying to escape.

It’s much better to find peace when and where you are.

Which is also why I prefer to meditate in the morning, to bring that peace and calm into the rest of the day with me.

Especially when I’ve arrived home, and there’s the unpacking and laundry to do.

And as you slip back into the usual stresses of normal daily life, you face the additional disappointment of finding your souvenier jams aren’t quite as delicious as you remember, without the luxury of the exotic locations where time seemed to stand still.

The real challenge is bringing the peace of the forest into your urban life.


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