Have you slowed down long enough to breathe lately? I was looking at this pic that my sister and I took last summer on Navarre Beach and I realize I haven't taken a moment to breathe lately. It’s beginning to wear on my psyche. I remember the moments that I stopped and took things in. I remember sitting in the cool grass back home looking out at the cotton fields for miles. I remember taking in the beauty and the pride I felt of being raised in the small farm community called Leesburg, MS. I remember my grandfather backing a full cotton trailer under the barn to hold until the next day because the gin had closed for the evening. I would run out to the barn in barefeet and my long gown and climb up to the very top of the trailer then free fall backwards into the warm dusty cotton. I slept there many nights staring up at the moon and making up songs. I’ve always been that wide eyed dreamer. I remember enjoying walks in barefeet down dusty roads that led into the woods. I would find bugs and leaves. I would swim in undisturbed creeks. I loved watching the clear water flow over the top of my feet wondering where it was traveling. I would sit under trees and read Tom Sawyer and daydream about his carefree gumption. I remember as a teen I would visit the same scenes for the same experiences yet I would also visit them to cry. I’ve always searched for hidden places to release my pain. It was never enough just to cry in my room with the door closed. I needed to get as far away as possible and conceal any possibility that someone could find me. I remember taking trips to Lake Washington with my parents and walking down the delta backroads in awe at the Indian Mounds there. I visited abandoned plantation homes imagining the history and stories the walls could tell. I remember sitting in the library at school for hours looking at books that no one had ever considered reading; mostly poetry and historical reads. In high school I remember taking a spring break trip to Gatlinburg. I was walking and shopping one evening and I remember this silver dodge pull up beside me as I walked and this beautiful blue eyed boy charmed his way into a date the next night. I met him and we rode around in the mountains for hours singing “Lifes a Dance”. He held my hand and we walked along the water. He looked in my eyes and said he wished he hadn’t joined the Air Force but he had to go away. He kissed me and we said goodbye. I don’t know what we expected to happen there but it is such a beautiful memory of being young and carefree. I remember flying on spontaneous trips to visit my best friend in Austin, TX. We would simply sit on the balcony drinking beer and laughing. We would go to the gypsy festival downtown and sit on the grass having drinks and listening to music. Those moments were so carefree. I remember being on a weekend getaway alone in a quiet bed & breakfast in Vicksburg, MS. I sat in the courtyard reading and writing. I enjoyed the smell of gardenias around me. I loved how cool and crisp the fall air was. I remember not wanting to leave on Sunday morning. I miss taking those trips alone. There was no wild agenda planned just simplicity and quietness. These retreats were nourishment for the soul. So often people want to break silence. Silence feels awkward to most people. I enjoy the quiet moments where nothing needs to be said. Just breathe.