In Provence there is a 13th century convent tucked into the fold of the hills of the Vaucluse. St. Hilaire is my happy place. When I meditate that is where I picture myself, sitting on the grass in the courtyard in back, watching the poplar trees across the valley sway in the breeze. We sat there for a long time, Kosta and I, just drinking in the peace infused in the very stones of the place. We didn’t speak, we just sat and watched the sky, the trees, and felt the breeze wash over us, content to just be. Even if I never return (and I sorely hope that is not the case) I will never forget the way that place made me feel.
Another photo from Greece–this one from Ancient Mycenae. In the ruins of a 2500 year old fortress perched on a mountain peak are these sweet little cyclamen growing up between the stones. They were so unlike the rest of the place–fresh, light, and verdant, and not at all what one would expect to grow in the scorching heat. They felt like a promise to me–that while humans will build up and tear down, nature will always be there to renew and refresh what has been destroyed.