The outdoors. It calls to us, if we let it. It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago and met people who had been raised their entire lives in a metropolis, (Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States), that I realized not everyone feels the call the way I do.
When I was young and living with a mentally-ill mother, one of the common escapes for me was to go hiking into the mountains behind our ranch. It backed up to a thirty-acre cow pasture, but beyond that, it was just National Forest – no houses for, literally, miles. Since my mother disapproved of my writing, I hid my papers and pen under my shirt and took off with my dog to go walking.
At the time, I only knew I was escaping. Now, at a couple decades’ remove, I realize that I was also communing with nature and finding peace in what was a very dangerous and unpeaceful situation. Many spiritual traditions talk of the silence one gets in touch with when one walks, and I find that silence is accessible as much in the city as it is in those faraway mountains of my childhood.