Right now, in this place, I feel nearly perfectly happy. This warm July day, I sit in the welcome shade of a maple tree, shadows of leaves dancing on the ground in front of me, flitting around like so many monochromatic butterflies. A light breeze raises goose bumps on my skin. I lean back and close my eyes, hearing the rustle of leaves in the trees; the chatter of swallows as they dive and dip through the grasses at the creek edge; the burbling of the water as it tumbles over stones and winds its way around fallen branches. A verdant lawn stretches out in front of me where, not long ago, I sat watching an intense match of Bocce ball played out between my son and his grandfather. In the distance, a mountain rises up, dotted with rocks and layered with Ponderosa pines. Here, there is peace and tranquility and quiet, even among all the noises of Nature. This, as my mother-in-law would say, is a magical moment. When life’s frustrations take their toll and I am feeling pulled in too many directions, I will try to remember moments such as these. I will allow them to fill me up, to pull me back together again, and to remind me that I am a part of something bigger than myself and the demands of my every day. I am a part of Nature, she is a part of me, and we need not be so often separated.