Someone once told me to find a place, a small corner of the earth, where you don’t mind being alone. Actually, it’s better that you prefer to be there alone. It should be an escape, a breath of fresh air when the world is crashing down, and you just need to get lost. I found my place.

Back home in Tennessee, just behind the last row of fences in my neighborhood, lies one of the most beautiful places you’ll come across in the South. I first discovered it as a freshman in high school. It was where all the kids would park their cars at night and stand around until curfew because, let’s be real, what else do you do in a little country town east of the Mississippi?

Once I got older, I started going there on my own. Half of the park’s trail is a wooden walkway leading back to a river, and the other half is just dirt pathways winding all throughout the woods. If you get there early enough in the morning, just as the sun is coming up to start the day fresh and new, you’ll find all kinds of animals rustling about — from deer to rabbits to tiny little lizards & even an old owl headed in for the day. Everywhere you look, there’s magic — water making music with the rocks it gushes over, leaves shaking hands as they’re blown into each other, spider webs doing a dance in the early morning light.

I swear, if fairies are real, this is where you’ll find them.

But it’s different in the morning. The woods don’t seem bothered by your presence. It’s almost as if you’re part of it, no different than the animals watching you pass by. You just sort of blend in, and it feels good. Innocent. That’s why I like it in the morning.

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This park, apart from it’s physical beauty, has an even deeper beauty to it. It’s got a way of pulling things out of you. I’ve discovered a lot about myself over the years just by spending my mornings running up and down the trails. Silence and solitude is good. Good for the mind + good for the soul. It gives you a chance to shut everything out and listen to what you’re heart is screaming at you while you’re too busy being… well, busy. Mornings there are also good for prayer. The words I present to God while I’m at this park are sincere + honest. I lose my selfishness for a time and am able to see everything more clearly.

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Do you have a place like this? If you do, spend time there. Learn what it is you love about it. Discover why it is you hope you can find just 15 minutes to spare. Then go.

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