Nature removes the veil between civilization and the human spirit. I thrive in these environments and when I return to cities, I'm reminded of how uncomfortable I sometimes feel in them. This desire to return to a natural habitat grows stronger as I get older. Wandering the streams, waterfalls, mountains and trees makes it so much easier to quiet the mind and meditate.
We made it up to the overlook of Multnomah Falls where I let my bare feet get massaged by the drift of the cold stream emptying out from the high cliff. I sat on a large boulder, closed my eyes and listened, with all of my being, to the sound of water running through smooth stones and echo between the trees. Amazing.
We eventually made it to the Vista House, overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. The scene looked unreal...literally not real. It makes you feel small. It makes you feel that whatever we do to this planet, it will, as George Carlin said, "shake us off." Mother Nature will be fine, we're the ones who are screwed.