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When I was in my late 30’s, I had to commute from my home to my office over fifty miles, across Point Mountain, each way.  I drove the route for two years and found I could enjoy the travel and the quiet time.  For most of the trip I usually tuned in to a classical program that not only had a variety of music but also included explanations about musical forms and patterns.  It had a soothing piece of music opening and closing each segment and I really enjoyed the time listening.

My office there overlooked a town park that was at the confluence of two rivers and its most special spot for me was the swinging bridge that I could see from my window. 

Over the seasons the views along the way were constantly changing.  In the spring I would begin to notice where all the flowers were growing alongside the roads, and after a while I became acquainted with the best spots to stop and gather a few species.  Often, by the time I reached my office I would have a lovely bouquet of several kinds of wildflowers.  Some of my favorites were bee balm, cardinal flowers, flame azaleas, queen anne’s lace, ox-eyed daisies, rose mallow, black-eyed susan, and even sweet dame’s rocket, which were the most rare and unusual for me.

Over the months I discovered several side routes.  One took me through a secluded Swiss village, Helvetia, where long-ago immigrants have been able to maintain their way of life.  Another route took me along the river bank on roads that were often broken and rut-filled and I was always so proud when I could make my way even though it was a challenge.

This route also took me through some second growth forest areas that were deeply covered and serene.

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory