Friday's Weekend Column
Let Nature Wash Your Stress Away

by James Glaser
April 9, 2004

All week we have been bombarded with the terrible news about Iraq and I find it exhausting. Two 19 year old Marines from a small Northern Minnesota town have both been killed over in the Middle East, along with hundreds other young Americans. Last year they joined up on the "buddy program" and now they have both given their lives in George Bush's War.

Thursday, April 08, 2004, Condoleezza Rice testified under oath to the 9/11 Commission. She said one thing while two weeks ago Richard Clarke, under oath said something totally different. Washington tells us everything is going fine in Iraq, while the news media tells us there is fighting on many fronts and the "enemy" now controls three cities. There are American body bags and hanging charred bodies on television and on the front page. Life is full of stress.

So, I decided it was time to retreat away from the media and thoughts of war. I took a walk out to the woods across the road and gave my body and mind a real treat, I spent a couple hours watching just how beautiful this world can be.

I found a spot under a Thorn Apple tree that was washed with warm sunshine. I have done this before and brought a waterproof pad to sit on as even if the ground looks dry, the moisture will wick up and make sitting kind of soggy.

I sat down and let my mind wander. All the terrible things happening to our troops and the Iraqi people kept coming into my thoughts and then a rustle of leaves made me realize that I had been sitting there long enough and quiet enough, that the animals were paying no attention to me.

I sat there and watched a squirrel run all around looking for the food he had hid under the snow last fall. Now with the snow gone he wanted to get everything back to his nest. Time after time he came back to the same spot, grabbed some sort of nut and ran off out of sight. Sometimes when he cam back he would flag his tail and "che che che" the woods, warning all to stay away.

I could hear no man made noise. All sorts of birds were talking to each other. Now that spring is in the air there are those birds that are migrating back and making nests, while other birds are foraging for food as they stop and rest on their flight north to Canada.

With the sun warming the soil there are the first signs of green growth and there were deer tracks all around showing that they have been eating here. There is not even a breath of wind, so I can hear all sorts of animals that I can't see. Now the woods are alive with animals, but in a month or so the bugs will be out and relaxation will be impossible right here.

All it takes is a hour or so out here in the woods to wash away that pit in my stomach caused by worrying about what is going on in the world. I wonder if there is some Iraqi veteran sitting out in the desert or next to the Tigris River doing the same?

Do you think there is any place in Iraq today that a person can sit in silence or is the noise of war is everywhere?

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