I don’t do traditional meditation, maybe because quieting my mind is more challenging than it is for the average person. My meditation is swimming, running, and spending time in nature. It’s how I connect to joy and peace, even if it’s fleeting. I’m so obsessed with swimming that I’ve watched hours of technique videos and analyze my form a lot. When I’m focusing on technique in the water, I’m at one with myself and everything else disappears. It is just the water and my body with every measured breath. Sailing and diving is also a way I find this peace, but these things cost a lot, so it’s been a while since I’ve taken a sailboat out on the water or explored a shipwreck. I miss the seasons where the earth feels more alive, but even if it snows I walk through the woods in my snowshoes, and the quiet stillness recharges me. I touch the trees as I walk by, reminding me I’m alive and here on this earth. Ever since I was a kid, I loved being near the water and sitting alone in trees. When I suffered abuse in the woods, the trees were my only witnesses. They made me feel less alone somehow, standing by me even when I feared death so I would not be alone. If only I liked people as much as I liked trees.

I’ve always wanted to learn photography, but I never had a good camera. For now I use my mediocre camera on my phone, because at least the photos make me happy. My picture of a heron actually gave someone I know the idea to paint it, so I was happy my photography inspired creativity in someone else. I don’t feel loneliness like other people do. Yeah, I need people sometimes, but I need the peaceful, quiet world of trees and rivers just as much, if not more, to keep me centered. Most of these pictures where taken in quiet solitude, where I am at peace.

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