Baraga County Canyon Falls jpeg

Discover and share the surprising spaces that free your mind

Mullein photo jpeg wildflowers in Upper Michigan
I dub thee “The Mullein Mounds.” My latest sacred space is close to home in a completely unexpected place, although I do not go there when front end-loaders and dump trucks are moving about.

This place feels sacred.

Earlier this fall I detoured from my usual walk and took an old dirt road that winds through a construction company lot. A catch-all for whatever overflows from the warehouse across the way, it’s treeless and completely exposed to the elements from all directions. It’s a cruel field on a windy day. Bitter in winter. The road that fronts it often drifts closed. Gritty in summer. I like the way the man-made sand hills mirror the contours of the green ranges that rim the horizon. But I never walk this way without sunglasses to shield my eyes.

Hidden by the sand hills, past the pallet piles and machine parts rusted beyond recognition, Nature found her Zen.

Lush yarrow. Best of the healing, white-flowered variety I’ve seen. Mullein Totem Poles. The yellow flowers make a tasty cough syrup. The rock mounds, carelessly dropped in no particular order, form a circle of cairns.

The effortless perfection of the design pleases me.

Many of us have our expected places of spirit, where we feel clear, connected, and able to see beyond ourselves, to realize we’re part of something greater. Could be a church. Or a tree. The garden. The sea. These familiar settings offer peace, replenishment and communion.

Florida sunrise near Melbourne
A golden dawn over Lake Schumann in the Old Florida town of Sebastian. Sacred to me, for meditating on the dock with the herons, wood storks, Ibis and all the other creatures who share my morning contemplation ritual. I chant. They squawk, honk, quack, whistle and kraaaanck!
Baraga County Canyon Falls trail .jpeg
In the forest near Baraga County’s Canyon Falls you can feel the beauty simultaneously soothing and energizing your spirit.

But isn’t it thrilling to know that’s we’re also capable of having our socks knocked off by an industrial “pocket park?” There are bits of beauty almost everywhere, like the single rose that continues to bloom in a gone-wild flowerbed or the skeletal symmetry of an abandoned factory.

What speaks – or doesn’t – to each of us is unique. As in Big deal, Cyndi’s excited about some weeds and rocks. Or as a tourist once asked of the Estivant Pines, the oldest virgin stand east of the Rockies, “So what are they? Just a bunch of trees?”

Where are your sacred places? What spaces have you stumbled upon that amazed you?

2 thoughts on “Discover and share the surprising spaces that free your mind

  1. I love our photos and connection to sacred spaces. I love walking along our beaches here everyday on Long Island but I never considered the “sacred” connection until I read this. I just feel so open and happy along the beach and in the woods. Beautiful essay. Thanks for inspiring.


    1. You have SO much beauty right in your back yard, Madeline! Gorgeous beaches! Vast and magnificent Sound and ocean! I can see why you find it sacred – and I’m grateful to have inspired you to arrive at that realization. That inspires me 🙏 and so the circle of reciprocity continues.

      Liked by 1 person

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