I dream of other places. Maybe that villa in Tuscany that I wrote about so long ago, thick walls cooling the inside of the house, while the heat of the sun caresses the gardens and the fields of sunflowers beyond. Or, staying on this side of the pond, a cabin somewhere, almost in the wilderness. Sampa’s log cabin in Big Eden, with its rich, woodsy colours, surrounded by tall pines reaching for the never-ending sky and with a view of the lake framed by distant mountains. It's a toss-up between that and the other log cabin in my imagination. The other one is in Montana, too, big sky country, but in a place less forested, a place of open vistas and rolling hills. There are many horses here and one of them grazes in the corral next to the house. I go for long solitary rides, far into the quiet of the wilderness, the only sounds the soft clop of hooves, the creak of the saddle and towards sunset, the far-off howl of wolves. Or one last maybe, this one a weatherbeaten house on a beach somewhere, where I can wander in the sand, the surf breaking over my feet and the sunset turns the ocean into molten gold.

All my maybe places have this in common: they are far away from everything and offer blessed solitude and silence. No distractions intrude with the breakneck pace of the modern world, no being tied to schedules and meetings and appointments. There is just me, my computer and the wilderness and so, I spend my time writing and reading and going out there, out there where the beauty and stillness of nature usher in a quiet in my soul.

What I escape from in these sanctuaries of my mind, I don't quite know. Maybe it is the relentless demands of what it takes to maintain life and a home these days. Or maybe, since in these places I am unconstrained by a disability, it is my body. I hurt that place in my neck and shoulders again, this time attempting to operate an elevator button that was stuck and so am right back in the place where what I want is different from what my body wants.

At the end of the day, though, it doesn't matter why. All that matters is that I have places to go in my mind, places of beauty and stillness that help me find quiet in my soul.


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