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June 18, 2014

This past weekend I went to visit my dad for Father’s Day.   When I arrived he was watching the Red Sox game in the living room and I joined him for a few minutes.  Honestly, I find baseball a bit tedious so I started looking through an old photo album with my mom.  There were many great pictures of our family camping trips to Greenfield State Park and White Lake State Park in NH.  When I was little, we spent many a summer vacation sleeping in a tent and eating dinner at a picnic table underneath a big orange and green canopy.  My older brother, older sister, twin sister, and I slept side-by-side in the big blue canvas tent as my parents rested on the old wooden cots by the screen door.  It was magical – the tent, the mountains, the lakes that we swam in all day long as the warm sunshine tanned our skin.  Happiness was abundant.

Each year as school was about to end I couldn’t wait for the day my dad would pack up the big Ford station wagon.  We would all pile in and off we went to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

As fate would have it I continue to spend many weekends and vacations in the White Mountains with my husband – hiking, backpacking, swimming in lakes & rivers, and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine on my skin.  What I experienced as a child I continue to experience as an adult and it’s still magical.

As a child I didn’t think too deeply about being outside but I knew that it made me happy.  As an adult I am more and more aware of the healing benefits of the wilderness and the importance of taking time to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

I like to think that my own departed loved ones come back to me as signs in nature – maybe a bird singing sweetly, a deer walking through the yard, or perhaps a rainbow.  I feel that those who have died become the beauty of the world around us.

There is no easy way to assuage the grief and sadness that we feel after someone has died.   But it helps to know that their spirits are close by.  So, the next time you’re on a mountain trail or strolling along a beach, do what I do; look for signs of those walking with you. Nature is a powerful healer.  It brings peace to our hearts and our minds.  Enjoy summer!