God is here….

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When I was a little girl I fell in love with trees. I have a picture of 7 year old me sitting on a tree trunk, swinging her legs, eating some pie and smiling at a boy. Dare I say that this remained for a long time my own personal version of heaven?

My love of trees naturally lead me to parks. I am a NYC girl after all. I recall 10 year old me hanging out in Van Cortlandt Park. It may be interesting to note that I had apparently skipped school that day to do it. Why I really couldn’t say except that I had a lot of issues in school when I was young because I was constantly teased for being the tallest girl in the class. My nickname, because kids are oh so literal, was, you guessed it, Tree. Maybe that was a reason for me to find them lovable. In retrospect, such teasing makes today’s bullying episodes look like a walk in the park but I digress…

That day remains magical for me, surrounded as I was by a literal castle of green. I played at the water’s edge and made tea in a discarded can that in my mind was a kettle. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I think that would be my first experience of the word serenity.

Time moved onwards and I discovered the NY Botanical Gardens. Walking under the Tulip Tree Allee at the main building is still one of my favorite things ever. Even better, I loved it in the Fall when leaves added their dancing mystery to the quiet symphony of sound that is Mother Nature. I escaped my life there on many a day.

I always dug the ocean but never so much as when I began to travel. I have spent many idle hours staring at the Caribbean Sea in Mexico, puzzling over the Indian Ocean in Bali and contemplating the gorgeous Atlantic stateside, courtesy of my Northeastern upbringing. 

I have had the glory of traveling alone. It was not my first choice but in retrospect I realize that these were some of the best trips I ever had because I got to listen to Me uninterruptus.

I spent 7 days in Antigua and on the second day, I found myself walking up and down the small beach fronting the hotel with my Walkman in hand. Back and forth, a slow sashay that was backed by The Roots playing “Love of My Life” which has remained my favorite song ever since.Only when I stopped and sank to the sand exhausted did I become overwhelmed with awe and a surfeit of emotion as I took in the unparalleled vision of the sea and the horizon unbroken by any man made thing. The thought which rang in my head was, “God is here.” 

In that moment, I felt completely at peace and joyful. Never was I so happy as I was when I was on that trip. I felt as if I was on a constant high, loving everyone I met, feeling absolute clarity and writing with sincere ferocity – pure. I was happy in my skin and felt a groundedness that I hoped to find again and again.

For me, certain places evoke this feeling and I have learned to take advantage and hone in on self and spirit when I am there. I am always on the lookout for more but like all the best moments in life they are rare.

Interestingly enough, I am both terrified and fascinated by deep water. 

It was after Antigua that I came to realize that we each find God in our own way. Church and Bible are not the only way. In fact, polluted by man, they may be the worst way. No insult to those who feel otherwise.

Is there a place that makes you feel this way?


9 thoughts on “God is here….”

  1. ” the wisdom’s in the trees, not the glass windows.” ~ Jack Johnson

    Lovely post, Coco.

    You’ve been lucky with acquiring cool nicknames in your life.
    This is my first one.
    I guess it suits me just fine. 😉

    1. Really, Red? 🙂 I have a litter of nicknames behind me a mile long lol. And I return them as I love to give them. Red is cool though because it reminds me of love, passion, drive and purpose so I think you’ve gotten a pretty good one!

      People keep telling me Coco Rivers is a stripper or porn name but I don’t give a damn lol. I’m a Lisa you see and that’s SO common.

      1. Coco, I love your name and thought instantly of slow flowin’ chocolate rivers. Just as it says. And chocolate fixes everything. I like that. I’m Red because my puppy grew big, and often exhibited “wild” behavoir , just like a wolf. All I need is a red-hooded cape. But thanks, I’m workin’ on the love, passion, drive and purpose to live up to your vision of my first nickname. 😉 Peace, Red

  2. Hi Rhapsody,

    Thanks for the compliments. I am an amateur photographer and nature is an endlessly captivating subject. I’m digging that tree comment too. I planted a Tri-colored Beech this year and the leaves are PINK and brown. Very cool.

  3. Blessings…..
    love the photographs and the story/connection to your past.
    great shots….

    I too like trees i feel like the all have a personality and the branches has conversations.

  4. There isn’t a place that consistently makes me feel this way, but I have seen and felt beauty in many places, people and things.

    I feel as you do about organized religion often being tainted by man, so I come to the beauties and the thrills of our world with my eyes and my heart open, and the carefulness of my own conscience to guide me. I can accept the word god to express something beautiful and expansive that I feel, but only when it feels as open as what you’ve said here.

    I’ve spent a lot of my life forced inside, by one reason or another, so I’m sometimes happily surprised by how much I can feel just watching a movie like, Eat, Pray, Love. I didn’t always care what those characters were doing, but I was so lost in the colors and the scenery at times, that I felt as though my heart would burst out of my chest.

    I’ve also felt that way on a busy downtown afternoon, stopped on a corner and looking up between the buildings into a silvery cloud that threatens rain.

    1. Hey Sparks! It’s important to be open to emanations and as you so beautifully said they come from many places. I loved that movie, the scenery was gawgeous! Javier Bardem is also quite yummy ;). Have a great weekend.

  5. What an incredible story. Your love for trees is both rooted in beauty and in pain.

    I have yet to travel as many places in this world as you, but being on the lake would have to be the most tranquil for me. We stay at a small cottage on the lake, and in the morning before he wakes up, I build a fire in the wood-burning stove, and drink coffee on the deck. The breeze is calm, the water is like glass, and the company is everything I need. In the evening, the sun sets over the lake, casting luminous yellow across the face of it like butter. We took a rowboat out there once, and lay together in the boat so we’d touch this light.

    I believe in God, but what kind of God, I don’t know. Nonetheless, the energy that creates this type splendor and love is part of God.

    Thank you for this post,

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