Remember when as a child you would lay on a blanket on a bright summer day looking up at the clouds above and seeing figures or shapes of familiar objects. These were pleasant days of unleashed imagination. I wonder if we can allow ourselves to do that again. After many, many years of being absorbed into the day-in and day-out trials of just living, are we able to free our minds even for a few short minutes, away from the clamor of the daily news, away from stress and emotional strain, away from everything except your true basic self, the inner-child you once knew. The idea where play didn’t have to have a purpose, it was just a state of mind and you didn’t have to think to be there. It was and you were.
As an adult — well, an older adult, well, as a senior citizen — I escape to my hammock stretched between two trees and look up through the leaves against a blue-white sky. Blue for the heavens and white for the clouds that drift across them. I stare up into these trees until my eyes become to heavy to hold open. Then my ears take over and I can listen to the birds and the squirrels as they chatter back and forth. Often I can then disappear from reality into a world of sleep. Often my wife is beside me in her hammock swing reading which is one of her favorite past times. Just the vibration of her presence helps me to really relax and fall asleep quickly.
Our children and grandchildren have also found this place very relaxing. Just a few weeks ago, my granddaughter fell under the spell of the hammock and went to sleep quickly for a few hours. This spring, when I put up the hammock, a few strings broke, and I got some rope to fix it. A few more then broke and there wasn’t any repairing. When our children found out about this situation, around Mother’s Day a new box appeared and a new hammock was stretched between the trees. Even our children have commented that the hammock and hammock swing are one of the focal points of our home probably as much as the fireplaces are in the winter months. Both, the hammock and the fireplace, are very hypnotic.
Now I look up, not at the sky and the clouds, but look up in prayerful appreciation for the simple things that have made my life so enjoyable. Take a few moments and figure out where your places of extreme comfort are and if you don’t have one, create one. A place to rest your mind and body.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at (740) 852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.